Skift Take

WeChat may be key for travel brands and destinations looking to appeal to Chinese outbound travelers. However, brands need to go beyond simply copying and pasting content from western social media to see the kind of payoff they are hoping for.

Today, Skift Research launched its latest report, WeChat Marketing Strategies for Global Travel Brands 2018.

As Chinese outbound travel continues to rise, this high-spending segment of travelers is increasingly appealing to travel brands and destinations worldwide. China’s number one super app, WeChat, boasts nearly one billion monthly active users, according to a report by its parent company Tencent. With this large user base, the app holds a lot of potential for travel brands looking to unlock this market. However, without a thoughtful WeChat-specific strategy, travel brands are unlikely to see much of a payoff from having a presence on the platform.

In this report, we outline strategic considerations and best practices for travel brands interested in joining the platform based on interviews with more than a dozen WeChat experts in travel, as well as our own analysis of WeChat data for travel brands provided by Beijing-based digital agency Dragon Trail Interactive.

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To get the most from having a presence on WeChat, travel brands must have a clear understanding of the nuances of the platform and of the mindset and preferences of its users. For example, certain types of content posted by brands to WeChat Official Accounts resonate better than others. We found that nature is one theme that tends to generate a lot of audience engagement, especially for WeChat users who live in large Chinese cities.

Destination Canada sees high levels of audience engagement with content that includes photos of nature. The photos below were included in a post about reasons to visit Canada. The post received over 48,000 views, making it Destination Canada’s most-viewed post of 2017.

Source: Destination Canada, WeChat Official Account post.

Using the data provided by Dragon Trail Interactive, we also performed quantitative analyses to identify trends pertaining to audience engagement. This led us to identify a relationship between the number of Official Account posts made by a travel brand per week and engagement in terms of the number of views that content receives. We found that brands that post more than three times per week see their weekly post viewership nearly double on average.

Travel brands that post to their WeChat Official Accounts more than three times per week see nearly double the viewership of posts than those that post fewer than three times per week.

Source: Skift Research + Dragon Trail Interactive

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In this report, we dive deeper into these topics, taking our data analysis further by examining different types of travel brands and various forms of audience engagement on the platform. We also provide numerous additional examples from travel brands on WeChat, and first-hand insight from our expert interviews.

What You’ll Learn From This Report

  • Sizing and expenditure data for Chinese outbound tourism
  • An overview of WeChat and its prominence in China
  • How travel brands are using WeChat today
  • Strategic considerations for travel brands interested in joining the platform
  • Insight on best practices from travel industry WeChat experts
  • What content resonates best with WeChat users, with examples
  • WeChat posting metrics based on Skift Research data analysis
  • The top travel brand WeChat Official Accounts among brands based outside of Mainland China based on engagement
  • How external partnerships can help travel brands overcome challenges associated with joining the platform, managing an Official Account, and building an engaged follower base

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This is the latest in a series of monthly reports, data sheets, and analyst calls aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision-maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep dives on key travel brands. Reports are available online in a responsive design format, or you can also buy each report a la carte at a higher price.

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Tags: china outbound, destinations, marketing, mobile, skift research, social media, tencent, wechat

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