This week we’re taking a closer look at Chinese travel habits.

Despite representing a growing source of outbound international travel, many travel marketers still struggle to understand and cater to the demographic. This appears to be changing however. As recent news reveals, the retail and cruise industries are getting more savvy in their marketing efforts to reach the group, utilizing tools like China’s popular mobile platform WeChat and revamped tour products to gain new customers.

How are Western brands finding success engaging Chinese travelers? Read on for more details.

Global Retailers Revamp Marketing Efforts to Reach Young Chinese Travelers
Shopping makes up a huge portion of Chinese travelers’ expenditures while abroad, and more global retailers are trying to wrap their heads around how to cater to this growing demographic. This is particularly true for China’s younger travelers, who increasingly congregate on the country’s popular WeChat platform to conduct pre-trip research. Savvy marketers are using a combination of geo-targeted marketing campaigns and QR code integrations on WeChat to reach these young travel shoppers. Read more

Princess Cruises Creates Upscale Amenities to Attract Chinese Passengers
In other Chinese travel news, Princess Cruises has been working rethink its on-board experience to better cater to Chinese customers. Although the cruise line’s campaign targeting English-speaking travelers focuses on themes like relaxation, the company has had to revise that approach for Chinese passengers, who are in search of a more active, experience-packed trip. This includes a range of new on-board activities like tango lessons, wine tasting and tai chi. Read more

Research Suggests Customers Don’t Like Social Media for Customer Service
Travel marketers have made significant investments in social media customer service programs in recent years. But that doesn’t mean customers want to use them. According to recent research, customers overwhelmingly prefer making calls or using company websites instead of social media to handle such matters. Among the concerns mentioned by consumers with social customer service was that it took too long to address problems and that it had limited functionality. Read more

OTAs Dominate Hotels as Travel Shoppers Shift to Mobile Bookings
It’s likely no surprise by now that online travel buyers are increasingly using mobile devices to make their purchases. One side effect of this shift is that it has become more difficult for hotels to compete for these mobile purchases with online travel agencies, thanks to the OTAs’ superior branded app experiences. This is likely to become an even bigger problem as mobile purchases move from a niche to a majority consumer behavior. Read more

Hyatt Consolidates Global Advertising Creative Efforts with MullenLowe
Hyatt Hotels announced this week it was consolidating global creative efforts for all 12 of its brands with MullenLowe. “We saw an opportunity to consolidate, not just from an efficiency perspective, but in terms of having a partner to really think through how we differentiate our brands from each other and have a choreographed master brand strategy,” said Maryam Banikarim, Hyatt’s global chief marketing officer, in an interview with Ad Age. MullenLowe also works with travel brands JetBlue and Royal Caribbean. Read more

Local Discovery Firm CityMaps Updates App With New Travel-Friendly Features
Local discovery continues to represent a tantalizing, but challenging, business opportunity for many travel brands. CityMaps, one of a number of interesting players in the local discovery space, announced a number of new features in its updated app release this week. Among the changes are curated guides pulled from content sources like The New York Times and Travel + Leisure, plus an offline maps feature that clearly has international travelers in mind. Read more

Photo Credit: Chinese shoppers stand with shopping bags on a sidewalk along 5th Avenue in New York City. Mike Segar / Reuters