It is with great pleasure that I introduce the 2015 edition of the Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM), the fourth in the annual series. Since it was first launched, the CITM has become a widely acknowledged and anticipated source of information about the latest trends in outbound Chinese tourism. Hotels.com is one of the world’s largest accommodation booking websites and, as such, we enjoy close relationships with very many hoteliers and accommodation providers. This gives us access to a deep data and insights into travellers from all over the world.
The growth in travellers from mainland China has been much reported in this report and elsewhere in recent years, with tourism authorities, government agencies, hotels, hospitality businesses and airlines around the world introducing new services and incentives to nurture and encourage this market.
In 2014, the outbound Chinese tourism market moved into a relatively stable growth period, seeing an increase of “only” 20 percent in outbound Chinese travellers. This followed a period of jaw-dropping growth over the past few years1. Still, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch2 forecast, outbound Chinese travellers could number around 174 million in four years’ time, spending about US$264 billion annually. That’s roughly equivalent to the GDP of a developed country like Singapore3. Clearly, the Chinese dragon is still building steam.
Several themes emerge in this year’s report. One is the expanding influence of “millennial” travellers, those Gen-Y people aged 18 to 35 who tend to like freer, unencumbered travel.
Another revelation is the spending power of the wealthiest top 10 percent of Chinese travellers, whose average daily outlay when travelling overseas of well over 13,000 RMB (US$2,000) including accommodation must make them a very interesting target market for hospitality businesses everywhere.
Further, if any more evidence is needed that no one can afford to ignore today’s app culture, this year’s CITM highlights the power of mobile commerce, with half of all Chinese outbound travellers now using mobiles to plan and book trips, up from just 17 percent in 2014. Eighty percent of them use some form of digital device for planning and booking, and only about one in eight now visit or ring up a traditional travel agent, according to our CITM research. Against a backdrop of often conflicting signals about the global economy, other bullish signs in this year’s CITM stand out. For the fourth year running, hoteliers round the world report an annual increase in Chinese guests. Many are confident about ongoing expansion and plan to invest more in services to keep these clients happy.
I hope that interested parties in government, industry, media and other observers will find the 2015 edition of the Hotels.com CITM as interesting and informative as we do. We look forward to keeping you up to date on Chinese outbound tourism trends and bringing you many more insights in the years ahead. Happy reading.