The concept of a museum is less than 200 years old. A museum is a good place to learn about culture and history. Museum
- There are more tourists from China than any other country in the world (120M)
- These numbers are increasing (it is just the start?) as only 10% of the Chinese population has a passport
Should museums use Digital Marketing to get more Chinese travelers?
According to the U.S. Travel Association, Chinese tourists spend on average $7,200 per visit per person. This includes travel and lodging. While 85% of the money goes to shopping, nearly 36% goes to art museums and galleries.
Over 6.15 million Chinese traveled abroad during the Chinese New Year 2017.
Foreign museums, especially French museums such as the Louvre Museum and the Palace of Versailles take an important place on social networks and Chinese Internet. For example, after the arrival of the Chinese Prime Minister at the Palace of Versailles, internet requests on the site exploded. This case shows the high use of social networks in the daily life of Chinese internet users.
Chinese travelers are connected
Foreign museums should work hard to attract more Chinese tourists by offering several services in Chinese. Moreover, they should make great efforts to develop all kinds of information tools in Chinese. For example, the translate your website into Chinese.
Key Opinion Leader’s (KOL) and bloggers are also very popular among Chinese Internet users. Their storytelling and opinions are becoming essential to have good visibility in China.
Chinese people who travel abroad have very specific expectations about museums. Consider adding a tailor-made reception option to your service menu.
Teams able to speak Mandarin and audio guides are essential. Many museums are already equipped with all these devices, but there is still lack of Chinese-speaking teams. For example, the Australian National Maritime Museum received 4,000 Chinese visitors from their corporate incentive program, and all these changes generated revenue and delivered a great experience.
International museums are actually installing Wi-Fi inside their buildings. In fact, Wi-Fi is very important if you want lure Chinese travelers. China is the world largest connected country. The Chinese are hyper-connected and they want to be able to communicate at any time with their social network.
How does a western Museum attract Chinese tourists?
It’s always important to understand who your customers are in order to develop a targeted and effective marketing strategy. With the development of the technology, especially in China-the most connected country in the world, there are a lot of ways to attract Chinese tourists to your Museum. You can use the Chinese social media websites such as Wechat, Weibo, and Douban, also travel forums such as Ctrip, Qyer, and Mafengwo to reach out the potential tourists in China.
Mafengwo, is a social trip-planning platform. With nearly 4 million active monthly users, it has raised more than $153 million this year. Its founder said, “he plans to turn the business into a shopping mall similar to the giant Alibaba, but focused on travel”. The most popular users of this platform are the younger Chinese generation who have grown up in the era of mobile internet and prefer to explore the world through independent travel. Thanks to several years of experience in the online travel industry, Mafengwo is well-positioned because of its high-quality user-generated content and continuous efforts to enhance its mobile product and transaction platform.
Example of a popular Museum on Mafengwo
Qyer, a social platform for independent travelers raised almost US$60 million in its D Series financing, led by OTA Utour and SIG China. This has boosted Qyer to generate a total of US$100 million. Qyer.com provides the best services for users with up-to-date travel tips and guides worldwide and has successfully grasped the attention of China’s new Generation. A new group of young, open-minded Chinese. The site is well known for hosting original travel journals, which focus on lifestyle. To help users better plan their overseas trips, experienced independent travelers recommend specific travel itineraries, hotels, restaurants, museum, etc. in their online Magazine.
Example the Palazzo dei Musei on Qyer
Ctrip, founded in 1999, is now China’s largest online travel platform. Its revenue for Q3 2016 reached RMB 5.6 billion ($810 million). That’s up 75% year-over-year, with $4 million net profit. Recently, Ctrip raised nearly $1 billion from the sale of convertible notes. They made lots of investment in outbound business and the domestic market. Ctrip has been spending big on technology in an effort to improve efficiency at the company.
Founded in 2006 in the eastern city of Nanjing, Tuniu has focused on online vacation travel services. Unlike to Ctrip and Qunar, Tuniu sells group and individual package tours. It also runs the most Chinese tours to the Maldives. One in four Chinese visitors to the Indian Ocean country went through Tuniu.
Qunar.com is one of the top travel portals in China. Qunar.com is the platform where the younger generations of Chinese travelers book their travels. From Generation Z to millennial travelers, cost-conscious travelers can find a large range of competitive price options for air and rail. Nearly 122 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad in 2016. This increase has been reflected at Qunar.com. With a commitment to building a travel ecosystem serving the entire travel industry, Qunar is evolving the way people travel in a world increasingly empowered by technology.
Social Media Marketing in China is different
Communication in China is not easy, but not impossible.
Don’t be scared of social media or to develop your own blog because Chinese Travelers don’t use most western platforms such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook. But they are familiar with their own social networks such as WeChat, Weibo, etc.
In fact, Wechat is the most popular social platform in China with nearly 947 million active users and many features that make it a must. Wechat is a sort of smartphone Swiss Army Knife because it is an integrated app. There is also Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter) with nearly 550 active users.
All these social media networks are a great way to meet strangers and also a way to do business. Many international companies have created an official account. Actually, the total numbers of companies with official accounts are over 4 million accounts. For example, the Louvre, Place of Versailles, the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, museums and the Museum of the Army opened their Weibo and WeChat accounts in 2015.
Futher reading on Wechat
Social media accounts allow the social network users to subscribe to news related to the company’s activities. For example, the Orsay and Louvre museum early understood the necessity of developing new strategies and they allow payments with the Chinese version of Apple Pay: WeChat Pay and AliPay. All these help facilitate and enjoyable visitor experience. They just have to scan the QR code and the money is charged to the buyer’s account, no matter the language or currency barriers.
It’s also really important to think about working with celebrities, influencers or KOL’s. They can help your museum reach new followers with their accounts.
Further reading: Top Social Media Strategies in China
Baidu and a Chinese website are essential
To attract Chinese tourists to international museums, a Chinese website that can be seen in China is very important. So is developing Chinese web pages for your exhibits. It is essential to create a website in Mandarin because many Chinese people have a very low English reading level. With a Chinese website written in Mandarin, they can easily have access to relevant information about exhibits and contact information. In addition, a website in Chinese will be better higher ranked on Baidu. Chinese travelers are interested more in experiencing the museum rather than gaining knowledge. They see a museum more like entertainment.
Baidu is the most popular search engine in China. Every Chinese internet user searches Baidu when they want information. Therefore, it’s essential to adapt to the Chinese environment if you want a chance to succeed in China.
The Egypt Gallery at the Manchester Museum has an excellent blog which is frequently updated. This is a great site to emulate in your quest to attract Chinese tourists.
Online Reputation, a great booster for your museum
Who said Chinese people don’t care about the Museum reputation?
It’s completely false. Chinese care very much about what other travelers say about a destination, a restaurant, and Museum. They do not trust corporate websites. (Usually, they are boring.) The most important things for Chinese tourists are the pictures of your museum, your reputation online (comments about your museum). If you want to win the heart of Chinese tourists, you have to take care of your reputation online and offline.
- It’s important to increase the number of positive reviews about your museum if you want that your visitors have a great time.
- The reputation of your museum is very important because before every Chinese’ decide what they want to visit they generally read the comments of other Internet users.
There are many ways to improve online reputation, such as press releases, or employing KOL. Bloggers posting articles about your museum will get your museum more exposure and allow you to become more known.
Photo by Nicole Harrington on Unsplash