China travel

Tech-savvy Chinese travellers use mobile devices to book half of all trips abroad: survey

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 July, 2015, 8:14pm
UPDATED : Friday, 17 July, 2015, 8:44am

More tech-savvy Chinese travellers aged 18 to 35 are taking international trips and prefer to use digital devices to book them, a new survey shows. 

Half of China’s outbound travellers now use mobile devices to plan and book trips, compared with just 17 per cent in 2014, according to the fourth edition of the Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM), a report issued by hotels.com. It was released on Wednesday.

“Rising incomes, relaxed visas and China’s growing urbanisation are the main reasons why China saw a 20 per cent jump in outbound tourism last year,” said Jessica Chuang, the company’s regional marketing director for greater China. 

Official data show that China had 107 million outbound tourists last year. 

The CITM survey was conducted in May on over 3,000 people in China.

It found that Chinese travelers in this age bracket prefer cheaper hotels with ratings of three or fewer stars, and that they rely less on travel agents compared to other Chinese demographics.

Almost half of those in this age group rely on word of mouth, review sites and accommodation websites, it reported. 

Chuang said more of her company’s partner hotels are turning to microblogging site Weibo, dubbed “China’s Twitter”, to attract Chinese travellers due to their rapid embrace of social media and new technology.

China's smartphone makers sold 390 million handsets in 2014, up 21.9 per cent from 2013, according to iResearch.

Citing a forecast by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the survey said outbound travellers from China could grow to 174 million in four years, with their total spending rising to US$264 billion a year – equivalent to Singapore’s GDP. 

The survey showed that the wealthiest 10 per cent of Chinese travellers spend more than 13,000 yuan (US$2,000) a day when travelling overseas, including on accommodation. 

Chinese were the biggest spenders on hotel accommodation in a number of countries last year, including New Zealand, Sweden and Argentina, the survey found.