Profiles of Chinese Travelers

Profiles of Chinese Travelers

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Profiles of Chinese Travelers

Different Needs, Different Experiences
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    In This Article
    • Shao Jin: a traveler who loves to shop
    • Mrs. Tu: a traveler who wants a simpler planning process
    • Sun Dan: a small-city traveler looking for better services

    China’s emerging travel sector is rocketing, but a new BCG study finds dissatisfied travelers at home and abroad. Few companies are addressing the needs of Chinese travelers, who differ from their Western counterparts as well as from one another. Meet three travelers whose varying experiences and preferences suggest opportunities for early movers.


    Shao Jin travels often and loves to shop.

    Shao_Jin_travels_shops• 28 years old, married without children

    • Lives in Shanghai

    • Annual income: ~RMB 150,000

    • Extensive experience with overseas travel—as many as two trips per year. Recently visited South Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia

    Her recent trip to South Korea:

    Shao_Jin_South_Korea_trip_graphShopping list
    “I always bring one on a trip. My Korea list included cosmetics and gifts.”

    Trip planning
    “I visited Korean websites to get more information about what to buy and where to shop.”

    Why she likes to shop on trips:

    • “Prices in Korea are more competitive than in other Asian countries. Sometimes even a Louis Vuitton wallet can be cheaper than it is in Hong Kong.”

    • “Family and friends often ask me to shop for them when they find out that I’m going on a trip.”

    • “I was able to purchase birthday presents for all my best friends during my Korea trip.”

    • “If it’s my first time visiting a country, I love to bring home some souvenirs.”


    Mrs. Tu wants to simplify her trip-planning process.

    Her online search process:

    mrs_tus_online_search_process• “I visited more than 10 travel websites to plan my last trip to Xiamen!"

    • “I checked to see if the prices offered on the airline and hotel sites were cheaper and then booked the best deals.”

    • “I cross-checked many sites for promotions or attractive deals and studied hotel reviews and guest comments. (But you have to be careful, because some are fake!)"

    • “I’d really love a one-stop website. It would make my planning process much easier.”

    • “So I’d know what to expect, I gathered basic information on regional history, geography, weather, and must-see attractions recommended by travel websites that weren’t biased by travel agencies or hotels.”

    • “I visted several sites to find out where other travelers had gone in order to create my own itinerary and list of dos and don’ts.”


    Sun Dan is looking for better travel services in her small city.

    sun_dan_better_travel_services• Married with one infant

    • College teacher

    • Lives in Weihai (a tier 5 city)

    • Extensive domestic-travel experience, but no outbound trips

    Complicated visa process

    • “I went to Sanya because I wanted to visit a tropical country without getting a visa.”

    • “I plan to travel to Hong Kong and Europe in three years. I’ll choose a packaged tour because the agency can help me get visas.”

    Constraints on driving

    • “My husband and I like to drive because it’s convenient. We hoped to drive to Xinjiang, but it’s difficult to get directions and find good hotels and restaurants along the route. Maybe we will have to give up this idea.”

    Limited help from agencies

    • “I believe travel agencies can offer more attractive prices than the prices I find online, but there are none nearby.”

    • “I can’t find a travel agency in Weihai that will help me book flights and hotels without joining a packaged tour."

    Willing to trade up but doesn’t know how

    • “It takes a lot of time to search for promotions at four-star hotels. I ended up staying at a budget hotel even though I am willing to pay up to RMB 400 a night.”

    BCG consumer interviews and analysis.

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