For the first time, more than half of the Chinese travellers surveyed book their hotel accommodation either via the web or mobile apps, up from 45 per cent in 2013. Just under half use online accommodation websites and online reviews sites to research their trips and a third check social media. Eighty-four per cent share their photos and experiences on social media during and after an international trip. The provision of free Wi-Fi is chosen as the most important service in a hotel by 59 per cent.
Abhiram Chowdhry, vice president and managing director APAC, Hotels.com brand, said, There are many factors driving the desire of the Chinese people to explore the world. The rising affluence of the growing middle class with higher disposable incomes, the upward trend in the numbers of repeat travellers, more relaxed visa conditions and improved local infrastructure are all dovetailing to expedite this growth. However, our report quantifies another factor; the rate at which technology is transforming the landscape of Chinese overseas travel.
Surveying more than 3,000 Chinese international travellers and 3,000 hoteliers around the world, the third annual CITM reveals significant insights into all aspects of the changing behaviour of Chinese travellers and how the global hotel industry is adapting to maximise the benefits of this new market.
With 97 million Chinese travelling abroad in 2013, up by 14 million on 2012, more than half of the hoteliers surveyed have witnessed an increase in the number of Chinese guests in the previous 12 months while 36 per cent believe that the influx of Chinese tourists is one of the factors that will have the most impact on their business in the next 12-24 months.
With internet penetration in the country climbing to 45.8 per cent, China ended the year with 618 million internet users, 500 million of these choosing to access the web via a mobile device, according to the China Internet Network Information. More than 90 per cent of internet users reportedly have a social media account.
There is also a growing confidence shown by these new travellers, particularly amongst the young. Two-thirds of the Chinese consumers now prefer to travel independently, up five per centage points on 2013, while more than 60 per cent of hoteliers have seen a boost in the number of independent travellers in the last two years.