200,000 Chinese want to come to your hotel

The growth of the Chinese tourist is the going to be the biggest change in the tourism industry for a generation.

Britain is on the approved list for China’s tourists. Half a percent of all Chinese tourists already head to the UK for their holidays, that’s over 200,000 people last year, and rising.  Two mid market Chinese hotel groups are sniffing around for acquisitions – according to yesterday’s Sunday Times – to take advantage of this demand. That means it’s time to get on with some hotel marketing basics.

When you see a website in your own language you are immediately more likely to trust it. It shouts that the company values you as a client. Search engines are also all about user experience. If you use a local domain name and the local language they are likely to rank your site more highly too.

Your hotel needs to be positioned to take advantage of this new revenue stream. My hotel marketing tips to do this are:

  1. Make a comprehensive version of your website in Chinese. Ideally, replicate the whole website and all the functionality including the booking engine. From an SEO perspective the more content, the better the site will rank. It’s the same for the user experience and therefore conversions.

  2. Put the Chinese version of your website on the Chinese URL with your brand name with the .cn domain. If possible get both the English and the best phonetic Chinese character match. Search engines value exact match domain names. Users also get a measure of re-assurance and therefore trust when they see this too.

  3. Put a link on every page of you English language website to the Chinese version in Mandarin. This will pass along some of the search engine power of your website to the Chinese versions and help Google and other search engines value your site.

  4. Use two translation sources. When we do multi lingual work it’s always best to use one source to originate and a second source to proof read and sense check.

  • I have been working across multi-lingual sites for a while now, and I have been very surprised by the lack of understanding that most people have of foreign languages and of what I call the power of localisation.

    To not master many languages is understandable – it’s a very specialised skill set. However, as I have witnessed working across international sites that are managed from the USA (L.A, I am talking to you), I have been quite shocked by the fact that for some people it is ok to release a foreign language version of a site that has sloppy localisation.

    To start with, doing the basic keyword research in the language and the country that you are targeting will bring you some answers as to what to put in your meta-tags and what to write – or not to write! I have seen referral stats going up by thousands of percent after thoroughly localising whole sections of a website.

    Note that I mention localisation, not just simply translation. Once you pass the stage of translation, you have to enter the lengthy stage of localisation, which is a longer process and involves a grammatical, cultural and psychological understanding of the audience that you wish to attract to your website. In other words, don’t simply rely on the Google translation tool, unless you don’t mind having a “House Page” instead of a “Home Page”.

    August 18, 2010 at 2:15 am
  • Jack Katz

    Louis, that sounds like a lot of good advice. I have been working with a leading localisation / translation company and I am well aware that all of your suggestions represent excellent advice.

    August 19, 2010 at 10:13 pm

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