Are you across the rapidly changing market and huge potential of the China juggernaut?

Today, more than ever, embracing genuine breakthrough creativity and ingenuity to differentiate new quality tourism infrastructure, experiences and brands to the hugely competitive and discerning world tourism market, is absolutely vital.

Why, for instance, did the elitist Shanghai Traveller’s Club 3,400 wealthy Chinese members vote clean, green, low-rise ‘100% Pure’ New Zealand as the “World’s best Luxury Destination 2013” in its coveted “Luxury Travel Awards 2013”? Leading to the Club’s President issuing this ‘stereotype busting’ press release:

“The new generation of affluent Chinese outbound travellers have demonstrated in their vote that they are now mature and experienced World travellers, far from the clichés of ‘Group Tours’.

It’s time for the luxury travel industry in Europe and the USA to realise that their future Chinese guests are now no more looking for discounted trips, but expect a high quality of service in the very best of hotels and luxury retailers. They enjoy travelling independently, making their own itineraries and trying more sophisticated luxury lifestyle experiences.”

Branding, positioning and marketing are the critical keys (fuel) for success in the world’s most competitive category of all.  Quality and genuinely outstanding customer service is imperative.  Authenticity is non-negotiable and that means authentically unique, high quality experiences.

Destinations need to re-evaluate China’s new breed of young and independently-minded travellers, to understand how best to attract them and capitalise on the growth of China’s outbound tourism.  China’s new set are not ‘tourists’ but ‘travellers’ – A subtle but crucial distinction.

According to GfK data, half (50 percent) of China’s outbound travellers are aged 15-29 years old – the “millennials” group – while over a third (37 percent) are aged 30-44 and 10 percent are 45-59.

The sheer size of the millennial group within China’s travellers makes this a commercially attractive target audience for those destinations who are looking to draw in Chinese tourists. This attraction is increased by the fact that two thirds (66 percent) of Chinese Millennials belong to the high income bracket. Not only that, but their financial standing is expected to increase as their careers advance, since seven out of ten Millennials hold ‘white collar’ executive or professional jobs.

Understanding the desires that motivate this major section of China’s outbound travellers is therefore paramount.

An annual study from GfK shows that Chinese Millennials are more ambitious than their predecessors, aged 50 and above – and more hedonistic in their willingness to spend money to indulge and pamper themselves. They are also slightly less price sensitive, being the biggest purchasers of luxury goods in Asia Pacific.

Almost more importantly for the travel market is that Chinese Millennials also cherish freedom more than their parents or grandparents; they want the ability to pursue their passions and go after meaningful, adventurous and exciting experiences. They are also technologically savvy with almost everyone owning a smartphone and being highly involved in sharing experiences on social media platform.

For destinations looking to attract this lucrative group, then, the ideal approach is to approach them not as ‘tourists’ but as independent travellers who will respond to opportunities to plan personalised trips.