Chinese residents born after 1990 are fueling a surge in
international travel, with a preference for local experiences, independent
accommodations and long-haul destinations.
And they're spending substantially more money to fund those
In the seventh edition of Expedia Group's Hotels.com Chinese
International Travel Monitor, researchers found Chinese millennials spent 80%
more on travel between May 2017 and May 2018 than they had in the prior 12
The report is based on interviews conducted by market
research firm Ipsos of more than 3,000 Chinese residents aged 18 to 58 who had
traveled overseas in the past 12 months, along with proprietary data from
Hotels.com and other research.
In 2017 across all age groups there were 130 million
outbound Chinese travelers, 7% more than the prior year and 85% more than in
2011 when the first edition of the report was published.
Unique and local
In addition to a huge jump in spending by travelers born
after 1990, that age group also spends a larger portion of their income on
travel -- 36% -- compared to 28% for Chinese travelers overall.
And the survey found they are spending that money on "local
flavor and colorful experiences." Sixty-nine percent of respondents say "tasting
local delicacies" was their favorite activity in the past 12 months,
followed by visiting local landmarks (65%) and shopping for authentic local
When picking where to stay, researchers say Chinese
travelers increasingly prefer properties that represent the local environment,
rather than just making their decision based on a hotel's star rating. For the
survey period, 55% of travelers had stayed in independent hotels, 49% in
international hotel chains and 33% at boutique hotels.
When asked what makes a great travel experience, 56% of
travelers say "living in atypical accommodation." Hotel amenities
also factor into decision-making. WiFi ranks as the most important amenity at
60%, followed by on-site dining at 50% and room service at 36%.
How and where
For Chinese consumers, their style of travel is also
While Chinese travelers used to overwhelmingly prefer structured
group tours, now 65% say they prefer "free and easy" independent
travel. The number is even higher for millennials: 71%.
Chinese travelers are also showing a propensity to venture
farther from home.
When asked about travel plans for the next 12 months, 60% of
respondents say they intend to travel to a country they haven't visited.
Grouped regionally, Europe tops the list of desired destinations in the coming
year, followed by North America and Oceania, primarily Australia.
Topping the list of things survey respondents would like to
see improved is better mobile payment options. Fifty-nine percent would like to
be able to pay using a QR scan in WeChat, and 57% want vendors to enable
payments via mobile phones.