The power of the brand in China – Hospitality industry

There are hundreds of hotels listed by China OTAs for each destination. Have you ever wondered why Chinese travelers book your competitor’s hotel next door rather than yours?

It all roots back if you have a proper digital branding in China or not.

We know that hotels are looking for direct bookings, but the Chinese market is one of the hardest to get direct bookings from. As validated from many sources and according to the McKinsey’s latest survey , 90% from the bookings do not come direct. Even when hoteliers think they are doing well, they see Chinese bookings coming from Ctrip for example.

Actually branding is everything in China. The same mug, the same coffee can have a 10x price difference in China branded vs. no branded. When a hotel cannot be branded according to the specifics of the Chinese tourist, more or less it remains the only opportunity to compete using a discount strategy. This is especially true for independent hotels.

While branding is really expensive, we still offer some quick steps to improve your digital presence in China:

  1. Your hotel name is the first step. Whether you believe or not, different Chinese names can be seen on different Chinese OTAs for the same hotel. Interestingly, some OTAs change the name of the hotel in Chinese without even informing. If you have an official Chinese hotel name, please make sure it is used consistently on all Chinese travel and booking platforms.
  2. As you know, most of western platforms and channels are blocked in China and they there are China-equivalents on almost everything. In addition to the already mentioned agency Ctrip, they are a number of popular travel organizing platforms as MaFengWo, lifestyle platform as RED (Little Red Book) or Zhihu – a forum where Chinese tourists share their travel experiences. By monitoring such platforms and get sentiments on what Chinese like and dislike your brand will help you to sharpen your digital branding strategy in China.
  3. Last but not least, being online presented in China alone is not enough. Efforts are needed both online and offline.

With the right digital branding strategy in China, you take control of your long-term strategy in China. Your business mix and bookings from Chinese online platforms will increase, not because they have done more for you, but because of your own online branding efforts.

*Hotel Experts BG uses for this article content officially provided by Anita Chan, CEO of Compass Edge