Ignore Chinese social media at your peril, says survey

Boutique Hoteliers would be well advised to take advantage of Chinese social media to boost occupancy, says a report.

Chinese social media use has taken off in recent years and is an increasingly important tool to reach and shape opinions within the Chinese market, says UK-based luxury retail and travel consultancy China Edge.

A recent study by China Edge shows that Chinese social media platforms have so far been almost entirely neglected by London hoteliers.

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China Edge surveyed the Chinese social media engagement of 102 hotels in London, including 87 five-star and 15 four-star properties.

Out of this pool, only six of the properties had registered Sina Weibo accounts, and none had WeChat accounts.
These two social media platforms are China’s largest, with 500 million users and over 400 users, respectively.

China’s explosion of social media – Weibo launched less than five years ago, and WeChat has been around just over three years – also comes at a time when more and more Chinese are travelling abroad.

There were 97 million outbound China travellers in 2013, and this number is expected to reach 100 million in 2014.
Still, London hoteliers have been slow to engage.

Of the six properties with Weibo accounts, two have yet to post any content. Additionally, three of the other hotels repost the same content from all three accounts as opposed to generating original posts.

Only one hotel, the May Fair Hotel, posts regularly, and occasionally assesses their competitors’ marketing campaigns.
The remaining properties are not active, and do not have obvious Chinese social media posting strategies.

The London hotels on Weibo also currently have far fewer followers than most hotel accounts in China—even the most-followed accounts have only around one per cent or less of the followers of popular hotels in Beijing or Shanghai.



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