International destinations enjoy an increased interest from Chinese tourists. The primary driver of growth is the rising middle-class and thus, the growing consumption capacity, as before international tourism was a practice only by the elites. However, as to attract more Chinese travelers, it is essential to understand and meet their requirements. According to research conducted by Daxue Consulting, shopping is vital to more than 80 percent compared with 56 percent of Middle Eastern tourists, for instance. Thus, it is important to satisfy Chinese expectations on tourism and commercial infrastructure, facilities, and services. An example is the luxury department store Harrods in London which has installed Union Pay terminals, the most used card operator in China, in its malls.
The client needed decision guidance on the developed concepts
Daxue Consulting’s client, a Western market research firm specialized in tourism research, demanded support to analyze Chinese expectations on tourism and commercial infrastructure towards a model which was aiming to attract travelers from China to a small island. Therefore, the company approached Daxue’s research team to investigate which of their established ideas suit best for Chinese travelers.
A three-step-approach to gain in-depth insights into Chinese expectations on tourism and commercial infrastructure
As a first step, the consultants prepared the online survey. It comprised the design of the questionnaire, the briefing of assistants, the recruitment of relevant participants – respectively Chinese who have traveled or intend to visit the targeted destination, as well as the setting of the uniquely designed mobile app, created by Daxue Consulting. The survey with over 200 participants encompassed questions to investigate the Chinese expectations on tourism and commercial infrastructure as well as their general travel habits, experience, and perception towards leisure and entertainment facilities.
As a second step, Daxue’s research team took measures for the preparation of the Virtual Reality Research. Therefore, Daxue prepared the necessary equipment and invited Chinese travelers, taking into consideration various profiles with regards to age, gender, marital status, occupation, and command of language to gain insights how Chinese expectations on tourism and commercial infrastructure differ among the distinct groups. The consultants then virtually tested the different versions of the client’s developed concepts. By utilizing gears, the participants experienced an immersive simulation, meaning the physical world was not relevant to them in the moment of viewing the videos. This immersive character enabled spontaneous and thus more accurate answers to the questions of the research team who:
- identified the consumer journey of participants considering the segmentation into different profiles (such as business tourists, families with and without children, etc.)
- applied concept testing, including analyzing the overall likeness of the client’s concept and reasoning behind (such as the feedback on positioning a resort)
- carried out a preference analysis for the tourist’s destination choice (including the opinion towards the promotion of the client’s destination such as the slogan, choice of color, or imagery)
- tested the awareness of the destination and attractions they would visit most likely and the likelihood of staying there
- benchmarked similar competitor destinations
The CEO and founder of Daxue Consulting, Matthieu David-Experton, explains: “Virtual reality is helping a lot getting a deeper understanding of the taste of Chinese tourists and adapt the infrastructure and environment to the Chinese population. This tool is a much cheaper way to test various interior design than multiple focus groups. And it is producing profound insights.”
As the last step, Daxue Consulting conducted in-depth interviews to support the initial steps but also to complement the gathered information. Therefore, the consultants talked to industry professionals, such as tourism agents, to gain additional insights into upcoming trends and their know-how about the expectations of Chinese travelers.
Validated insights facilitated the decision-making process on which concept to apply
After data cleaning and data validation, Daxue’s research team provided the client with a comprehensive overview of Chinese travel behavior as well as a detailed report on the findings, plus the recordings of the VR sessions about Chinese expectations on tourism and commercial infrastructure and the most liked concept of the client’s tourism model. The consultants also gave advice on how to promote the destination and which must have facilities to include to be attractive to Chinese tourists.