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Table of content for the Full Report INTRODUCTION

1. Introduction

1.1 Approach 6 1.2 Selecting the city 6 1.3 Methodology 6 1.4 Main Chinese Social Media Platforms 7

1.4.1 Websites 1.4.2 Sina Weibo 1.4.3 Wechat 1.4.4 Youku 1.4.4 RenRen

7 8 8 8 8

2. Executive Summary

2.1 A Matter Of Cultural 9 2.2 Fast Learners 9 2.3 A Wasted 9

CITY RANKING

1. Singapore

1.1 Website 1.2 Weibo 1.3 Wechat 1.4 Renren 1.5 Evaluation

2. Seoul 2.1 Website 2.2 Weibo 2.3 Wechat 2.4 Youku 2.5 Kaixin 2.6 Evaluation

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11 12 16 17 17

18 20 24 25 25 25

3. Bangkok

3.1 Website 3.2 Weibo 3.3 Wechat 3.4 Evaluation

4. Copenhagen

4.1 Website 4.2 Weibo 4.3 Wechat 4.4 Youku 4.5 Evaluation

26 27 30 31

32 33 37 38 39


1.

Introduction

China’s outbound tourism is booming and so it is not surprising that countries’, regions’ and cities’ official tourism boards all over the world are boosting their marketing efforts to tourists from Mainland China. New literature is published all the times about the trends, habits and demands of Chinese tourists. Still, while the data is highly interesting it is still only capturing the major trends. The most important being the gradual but decisive shift from mass/group tourism to an independent or semi-independent traveler paradigm. This development is not surprising as it merely mirrors the development in all other countries over the years. First people travel in the safety of groups, after some trips they feel confident enough to only let the travel agent handle booking of tickets and hotels and eventually they simply handle everything themselves. What has taken many in the industry by surprise is the speed with which the shift is taking place. But if one considers the speed with which Chinese consumers’ consumption patterns have generally changed over the years even this is not surprising. At their core Chinese are simply not afraid of risk or change. Most travel professionals are now familiar with the main characteristics of the evolving Chinese tourist. They know that the majority will want to shop for gifts and that most will want to eat at least some Chinese food while on holiday. They might even be aware of the fact that the independent Chinese tourist is becoming younger, richer, more educated, and hungry for special and niche experiences. But do the same professionals also know how to take advantage of this information to attract more Chinese tourists to their own city, region or country? Do they know how to reach out to them even before they start planning their trip, how to persuade more Chinese that it much better to choose one city or state rather than another? In other words: Are the tourism professionals able to conduct effective marketing towards potential Chinese travelers? To answer this question Shanghai Jungle has analyzed the performance of 37 cities worldwide. This report contains our finding for the 10 best performing – as an inspirational tool for best practices for the many destinations that still need to get started or do better.

1.1

Approach

The aim of this report has been to identify current best practices for cities’ online marketing activities towards Chinese travelers. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc. are blocked in China, so the focus has been on 3 main channels: the cities’ websites and their activities on Weibo and WeChat. As it can be seen, even among these Top-10 performing cities many still do not communicate on either Weibo or WeChat.

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1.2

Selecting the city

The first phase of the research process consisted in identifying the Top-10 performing cities. A first list of cities was elaborated by extrapolating qualitative and quantitative data from secondary literature, i.e. reports issued by consulting firms, tourism boards, etc. as well as gaining an overview of all major cities overall presence with website, Weibo and WeChat. In total 37 cities worldwide were analyzed. The second phase consisted in individuating the official social media and online platforms for the 37 cities, in order to see which were actively performing social media marketing targeted at Chinese tourists. To be considered “active on Chinese social media” a city needed to have at least a Chinese language website (possibly hosted in China), a Weibo and a Wechat account. Accounts on other social media (like for example “China’s Youtube” Yuouku) were a plus. Our findings showed that it is actually very rare for a city to use all three marketing channels. They often have an official website, but not a Weibo and/or a Wechat account. Even among the Top-10 cities only two cities currently operate on all three platforms: Seoul and Singapore. In other words: Although both Weibo and WeChat are today key components of all major brands marketing in China, only 2 cities in the world are currently using both for promotional purposes towards their Chinese target customers. Based on this the Top-10 consist of (in alphabetic order): Bangkok, Berlin, Copenhagen, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Toronto, Wellington, and Zurich.

1.3

Methodology

The data collection phase took place from July 1 to July 31, 2015. Over the period of a month, we monitored all the updates that were posted on each of these platforms. For the cities’ websites we not only looked at the content (which does not change so often) but also performed a more qualitative analysis, looking at the sites’ structure, their graphics, content, interactivity features, and so on. On the other hand, Weibo pages are usually updated with high frequency, with new content being posted and shared by followers. In this case we focused on a quantitative analysis of the posts uploaded on the Weibo accounts and on the number of comments, looking at the recurrent themes, probing into the followers’ reaction in order to understand what kind of content was more popular.


The following table illustrates all the platforms correlated to the cities we had selected:

CITY

WEBSITE

WEIBO

WECHAT

OTHER

Seoul

seoul.go.kr

visitseoul

visitseoul

youku, kaixin

Singapore

yoursingapore

yoursingapore

Singapore_Tour

Douban, Insideout, Renren

Bangkoka

mazingthailand

amazingthailand

TATchina

San Francisco

gousa/sanfrancisco

onlyinsanfrancisco

gousacn

orontotravel

canadatravel

Torontos

eetorontot

Copenhagen

visitcopenhagen

visitcopenhagen

visitdenmark

Berlin

LaiBolin

LaiBolin

germanytravel

Zurich

zürich

ruishi

zurichtourism

Sydney

australia.cnv

isitaustralia

tourismaustralia

Wellington

wellingtonnz

wellingtonnz

pure100wellington

Weibo, Youku

youku

youku

Websites

In the case of Wechat , we have adopted a mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis , since Wechat post feeds are usu- ally substantially fewer compared to Weibo feed . Apart from the frequency and the content of the posts, we have also looked at any interactive features. Other types of platforms were assessed in a qualitative way. The final objective of this research project was to produce a ranking of the 10 cities, listing them from best to worst in terms of social media marketing aimed at Chinese tourists.

1.4.1

Main Chinese Social Media Platforms

Obviously, it is also necessary not to make the mistake of linking the website to Western social media like Facebook and Youtube as these can simply not be seen in China. Another important aspect to take into consideration is the visual presentation. What in the West may appear to be a good-looking, well-organized site may not appear in the same way to a Chinese user.

1.4

Having a Chinese website does not only mean translating the content into Chinese. It also needs to be hosted in China, to make sure that it is easily accessible to Chinese users. Websites not hosted in China can often take minutes to load – in reality sending users off to find their information elsewhere.

Before presenting the findings, let us first take a look at the main Chinese platforms used for social media marketing. As already mentioned Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are blocked in China. However, China’s social media landscape is at least as important and dynamic as in the West.

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1.4.2

Sina Weibo

Despite being often referred to as the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, some fittingly describe it as “Twitter on speed”. This is because Chinese users follow, post, comment, share with a much higher frequency compared to their western counterparts. Of course the marketing potential of a Weibo account is huge; as a matter of fact, companies and organizations usually do register their official account on Weibo. It is very important to keep in mind that official Weibo accounts are signaled by a blue “V”. Now, some technical language: followers are usually referred to as “fans” (fensi 粉丝). The posts are known as “microblogs” (which is the literal meaning of weibo 微博). A post can be shared, or reposted, but also liked and commented on. Throughout the report we used these three parameters (reposts, likes and comments) to assess the popularity of a Weibo post.

1.4.3

Wechat

Do not make the mistake of thinking WeChat is merely a “rip-off” of western instant messaging app Whatsapp. Over the past 2 years Wechat has radically changed the way people communicate in China to become the single most important channel for marketing and communication, even surpassing Weibo. As with Weibo, companies and organizations can also open an official Wechat account, thus getting the possibility of reaching potential customers at any time by posting content on their Wechat feed. As a matter of fact, Wechat is not only used as a messaging tool, but also as a content sharing platform. Official Wechat accounts often have a bottom menu from which users can choose to access selected information. Articles posted on Wechat can be linked to their original source, for example a website.

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1.4.4

Youku

Originally born as “China’s” Youtube, Youku has today differentiated itself from the American video sharing website. Unlike Youtube, Youku is dominated by “editorial” content, and not by amateur videos uploaded by individuals and personal channels. Youku also offer Chinese users free access to a selection of movies and TV series. However, China’s video sharing market is much more competitive than in the West with Youku facing fierce competition from rivals such as Tudou Wang 土豆网, Soku etc.

1.4.5

Renren

Renren was one of China’s first social media platform and an almost 1-1 copycat of Facebook. However, Renren has failed to gain the traction Facebook has obtained in the west, and it is now quickly being bypassed by other platform, not least WeChat.


2.

Executive Summary

Renren was one of China’s first social media platform and an almost 1-1 copycat of Facebook. However, Renren has failed to gain the traction Facebook has obtained in the west, and it is now quickly being bypassed by other platform, not least WeChat.

1. Singapore 2. Seoul 3. Bangkok 4. Copenhagen 5. Berlin

A Matter Of Cultural Proximity

6. San Francisco 7. Zurich 8. Sydney 9. Wellington 10. Toronto

Fast Learners

2.1

2.2

All the top three cities are located in Asia prompting the question whether it is a result of cultural proximity, or because more resources are invested by these countries (as they have already had more Chinese tourists) – or simply a coincidence? The reason why the Asian cities rate higher in this matter it’s simply because they rely on very well conducted strategies. As a start, Singapore and Seoul were the only cities with an active presence on WeChat. Moreover, all the Top-3 cities showed a very high degree of confidence while interacting with Chinese tourists. Sharing content they are interested in, launching successful campaigns etc. – fundamentally making the content interesting and relevant. In some ways cultural familiarity may be playing a role as they share similar cultures and thus mental frames. Another important reason is probably that they have a longer history of welcoming Chinese tourists. For Western cities it is encouraging to determine that all the things done by the Top-3 cities can relatively easily be implemented to increase the marketing effect to Chinese tourists.

Another clear and noteworthy conclusion is that a handful of European cities are already doing impressively well. This is particularly the case for Copenhagen and Berlin who are the clear European frontrunners. European cities would do well to look at and learn from them.

“An account that has not been updated in months is very frustrating”

“The European cities fared surprisingly well”

A Wasted Opportunity 2.3

More negatively, it seems that most cities still fail to truly grasp the importance of social media in China. While spending a lot of resources on their website design and content creation, they simply fall flat when it comes to their Weibo and Wechat accounts.

“The Asian cities showed an undisputed superiority”

In some cases the frequency of postings is simply too low for Chinese users and the latest posts being so old that any user would conclude that they cannot expect to receive much up-to-date information.

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CITY RANKING

10


1

Singapore

Singapore has an official website, Weibo account and Wechat account. They are all managed by the Singapore Tourism Board, which brands itself through the label YourSingapore (Wo xingyou wo Xinjiapo我行由我新加坡). These platforms are thus all city-specific. There is also a Renren account, which however does not seem to be used at the moment.

1.1

Website

YourSingapore: http://www.yoursingapore.com The Chinese version of the YourSingapore website provides users with a very good introductory overview on what the city has to offer: this includes information about accommodation, food, transport, shopping, etc., mirroring in other words the content of a traditional guidebook. The website has two main sections, targeted at Tourists and MICE planners, respectively. The homepage of the Tourist version opens with a so-called Experience section, which displays a number of rotating thumbnails linked to articles. These articles can be grouped in the following categories: Shopping, Scenic Spots, Food and Nightlife. There is then a Browse section, which presents more detailed information about Singapore, related news, events and promotional activities. The third section is Plan Your Trip, providing users with practical and useful information about transport, accommodation etc. In this section users can look for discounted flights, a service that is of course much appreciated by Chinese tourists.

Fig. 1 Your Singapore homepage

From an aesthetic point of view, colorful pictures create a stark contrast with the black background, creating a very powerful visual impact. The thumbnails of the Shopping-related articles are particularly eye-catching.

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Fig. 2 Thumbnails in the homepage

The website also puts a lot of focus on Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, displaying a wide range of special deals and events aimed at attracting Chinese tourists. YourSingapore has initiated a cooperation with Maotuying(猫途鹰), hosting a direct link to the travel website. Maotuying is actually the Chinese language version of Tripadvisor. This sort of cooperation is of course positive, although it should also be pointed out that Tripadvisor is not as popular in China as it is in the Western world. As a matter of fact Tripadvisor.cn has recently rebranded itself from Daodao(到到) to Maotuying, launching after a short period of time a dedicated app for Chinese travelers. All in all, the website covers an extremely broad variety of topics, providing practical information and promoting at the same special events and activities. Another very positive feature is that the same website can cater to the needs of three different types of tourists: the ones staying for a short amount of time (and probably focusing on shopping), the ones staying longer and wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the

1.2

city, as well as the business travelers. On a negative note, the MICE section of the website appears to be only in English, which is a shame considering that the MICE business is expanding in China. Moreover, some of the content still needs to be translated into Chinese: for example, when the users click on the “Recommended accommodations and specials” button, they are redirected to English-language pages. This may appear as a small nuisance, but it still important to avoid creating frustration between Chinese-speaking users. More interactive features can be added to the website, such as the possibility of adding a comment after an article. There are also some bugs to be fixed, like in the case of a link redirecting the user to an error page, or of those of the same articles appearing more than once. There is also a section with recommended travel agencies, but just a few of them are located in China. Additional improvements could be done by showing the addresses of places of interest on a map, adding comment sections, and initiating cooperation with Chinese agencies.

Weibo

YourSingapore: http://blog.sina.com.cn/yoursingapore

The official YourSingapore Weibo account was created in 2010, and it lists 446,792 followers. The top rotating slideshow displays five pictures, each linked to an article. The homepage also presents a Services button, which opens a menu with different categories such as latest news, transportation map, etc., as well as a Photo Album button, which rearranges the posts like a pin board..

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Fig. 3 YourSingapore logo


Fig. 3 YourSingapore Weibo account

The Weibo feed of YourSingapore is usually kept updated: throughout the month of July 2015 a total of 89 posts were uploaded, with an average of 3 posts per day. The posts can be grouped into 10 different categories: See & Do, Food & Restaurants, posts related to Celebrities, Events, Curious facts, Hashtag, Promotional activities, News, Shopping, Hotels. In terms of quantity of posts for each category, we see that the posts belonging to the See & Do category are the most numerous, followed by Food & Restaurants and Celebrities.

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If we look at the number of times the posts have been shared, we find Promotional activities in first place, with an average of 56 reposts per article, followed by Celebrities (45) and Hotels (24, 5).

Also looking at the average number of likes and comments, the Promotional activities category appears to be at the top, with an average of 36 likes and 63 comments.

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While attempting to evaluate the overall popularity of the different categories of posts, Promotional activities confirms itself at first place, followed by Hotels and Celebrities. Posts giving tips for good and cheap restaurants also appeared to be usually very popular.

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Most popular post: Promotional activities – Lottery: Guess the scenic spot in each pictures (412 reposts, 50 likes, 1055 comments) Least popular post: Celebrities - Members of “Super Fans” on their Singapore Tour (0 reposts, 4 likes, 1 comment)

1.3

WeChat

Singapore_Tour

The YourSingapore official Wechat account has a more limited post feed compared to the Weibo account. Throughout the month of July 2015 a total of 12 posts were uploaded, with an average of three posts being published each week. The content ranged from article talking about curious and interesting facts about Singapore, to promotional activities, to tips regarding what to see and do in the city, to advertisement about upcoming events. The most numerous posts were the ones talking about curious facts. Overall, each post received an average of approximately 6,000 hits and 35 likes: the most popular post was one titled “The truth is revealed: Why are there no fatties in Singapore?” which had over 14,000 hits and 86 likes.

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The users also have the possibility of interacting with the YourSingapore account by using the instant messaging feature. The user can write a question, and will immediately receive an automatically generated message informing them of the possibility of receiving ready-to-use content. A menu is also displayed, with each

1.4

section being associated to a simple numerical code. For example, if the users are interested in having more information about the top ten must-see scenic spots in Singapore, they can reply with a message containing only the code “408�.

Renren Singapore also had an official Renren account, but the last registered activity dates back from 2013, therefore it is not relevant to this report.

1.5

Evaluation The website is built in a way that should attract Chinese tourists: it utilizes captivating graphics, high quality pictures, and well-selected content. The cooperation with Maotuying if of course also a plus. The website includes a MICE planners section, which should interest a great number of Chinese companies: however, this section is only in English and should be translated. There are also some bugs to be fixed, and articles talking about specific locations should also be integrated by maps.

The Weibo feed is kept updated, with an average of 3 posts per day. Posts are also very varied in content. The Wechat account is also exploited very well, providing both a platform for content sharing and a mean for the users to interact with the Singapore Tourism Board. The number of posts is scarcer when compared to the Weibo account. The inactive Renren account should be deleted.

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Seoul

2

The Official Seoul City Tourism manages a variety of Chinese platforms. These include the website, a Weibo account, a Wechat account, a Youku account and a Kaixin account (which was deleted). They all orbit around the brand Visit Seoul. It is described as the “official travel guide to Seoul�, and it is sponsored by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

2.1

Website

Visit Seoul: http://www.visitseoul.net/ck

The official Visit Seoul website is available in five different languages, namely English, Korean, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese. As for the other language versions, there are two separate sections of the website: one for Tourists, and another dedicated to MICE Planners.

Fig. 9 Visit Seoul homepage

On the top menu of the Tourists homepage we find eight different categories, which are comprised of a series of subsections.

Fig. 10 Top Menu

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Have Fun in Seoul contains categories relating to the World Cultural Heritage in Seoul, recommended places by Maotuying, must-see and famous scenic spots, recreational activities, as well as what to do in the suburbs.

tent of the other articles posted on the website, we see how Visit Seoul considers shopping (especially for cosmetics) and the culinary experience as being of key importance for Chinese tourists to enjoy their trip to South Korea.

The section called Foodie Paradise provides useful information about where to find restaurants from a variety of cuisines, bars, and cafés. We also find an Accommodation Guide, which gives access to a list of recommended stays and special offers.

The See & Do articles are also quite rich: some art exhibitions in particular should result more appealing to Chinese tourists, given the similarities that the works on display share with traditional Chinese art (for example Chinese ink painting).

The other categories on the menu are Shopping Strategies, Cultural Events, Tips for Your Stay in Seoul, The Korean Wave, and Seoul Summer Sale. By selecting this last category we find, not surprisingly, a subsection called Medical Tourism. As a matter of fact South Korea has become famous world-wide for its stateof-the-art medical industry, especially those dedicated to plastic and cosmetic surgery. A lot of inbound tourists to South Korea enter the country with the main purpose of undergoing a surgical procedure, and a great number of them are Chinese nationals. On the Visit Seoul website we find, for example, an article dedicate to an advanced face-lifting technique, which will probably interest at least a part of the Chinese travelling to South Korea.

We should also mention the “Korean wave”, or “hallyu”: this is the label indicating the recent wave of popularity that Korean pop-culture products have been experiencing in the rest of Asia as well as in many Western countries. More and more people are consuming South Korean movies, TV shows and series, and pop music (the so-called K-pop). A great number of young Chinese are huge fans of Korean “idols”, who are superstar actors or singers. It is only natural that Visit Seoul exploits the fame of the Korean idols to attract tourists. A common strategy is to organize promotional activities and inviting idols to act as spokespersons. A good example can be found among the website’s main slideshow pictures, where we found the link to a promotional activity sponsored by renowned boy-band Super Junior: the 2015 Seoul Summer Sale, taking place from July 1st to July 31st.

By conducting a qualitative analysis of the con-

Fig. 11 Promotional Seoul Summer Sale

The MICE Planners section of the website has a relatively simpler structure, with the main sections being: Guide of Seoul, Meeting facilities, Meeting information, Subsidy schemes. Notably, Visit Seoul is cooperating with Maotuying. A part from the famous travel platform, Visit Seoul is also partnered up with a number of national boards and bureaus, including the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the Seoul Cultural Center, as well as smaller organizations, including one offering translation services.

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Fig. 12 Partners

2.2

Weibo

visitseoul http://www.weibo.com/visitseoul

Fig. 13 Visit Seoul Weibo account

The official Visit Seoul Weibo account counts 129,493 followers. It presents a top rotating slideshow displaying advertisement the latest events in Seoul. Throughout the month of July 2015, updates were not so frequent, with an average of 4 posts per week. There was a total of 16 posts being uploaded throughout the month. We have identified seven different themes which the micro-blogs can be categorized in: See & Do, Shopping, Events, Ads, posts related to celebrities, food & restaurants, and promotional activities. From the following pie chart we can observe that in terms of number of posts, the most recurrent theme was See & Do, followed by Events and Shopping.

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Looking at the average number of times that an article from different categories was shared, we see that the articles belonging to the Events theme were reposted the most, with each article being shared 11 times on average. Shopping and Food & Restaurants follow.

If we look at the average number of likes and comments, the most popular categories are Food & Restaurants and Promotional activities, respectively.

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SEOUL

By combining these three values, we see that in terms of absolute popularity the winning category is Events, followed by Shopping, Food & Restaurants and Promotional Activities.

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Fig. 14 Most popular post

Most popular post: Events – 2015 City Water Slide Festival in Korea (24 reposts, 16 likes, 10 comments)

Least popular post: Ads – Recommended brand #Olive Young# (3 reposts, 6 likes, 0 comments) It must be noted that the Visit Seoul’s Weibo feed appears to be usually met with a very mild reaction from the followers, with even the most popular post being reposted not more than 24 times.

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2.3

WeChat

visitseoul

The last post appears to be dating back to late April 2015. Previous to that, the frequency of the postings was approximately of two posts per month. On the other hand the interactivity of Wechat as a messaging platform is being exploited. When the users enter the VisitSeoul account, they are greeted by a welcome message, which illustrates the functionality of selecting editorial content about the city.

Fig. 15 Visit Seoul Logo

The main menu consists of six different sections, which mirror the main sections of the Visit Seoul website: namely Guide to Seoul, Have Fun in Seoul, Foodie Paradise, Accommodation Guide, Shopping Strategies, and Cultural Events. By selecting the first section, the users can then choose different subsections: for example, they can decide to access a map of Seoul, which has a link to the map from the website. This is of course a good service, as it provides easily-accessible content, and it also allows the users to directly interact with Visit Seoul. There is also the possibility of having questions about travelling to Seoul answered. However, the content sharing functionality is not exploited to its best: this official account is in fact missing out on the excellent opportunity of promoting special activities and events in a very inexpensive way.

Fig. 16 Greeting Message

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2.4

Youku

visitseoulCN

Fig. 17 Visit Seoul’s Youku account

The Youku account counts 239,236 views and a 44 subscribers. The channel hosts a total of 23 videos: among them, the videos relating to shopping events promoted by huge K-pop band Super Junior appear to be the most popular. However, the last video was uploaded in December 2013.

2.5

Kaixin

Visit Seoul http://www.kaixin001.com/visitseoul The Visit Seoul’s Kaixin account was deleted.

2.6

Evaluation The website does a good job of highlighting all the special features of the city, for example by putting emphasis on the foodie culture and providing recommendations on where to find good Korean food. A winning strategy is that of combining the shopping experience with the allure of famous celebrities, like in the case of the 2015 Seoul Summer Sale. The website also has a dedicated MICE section, which is also very relevant, since it has become a widespread practice in China for companies to send their employees abroad as a reward. The Weibo feed could be updated more often, and the Wechat account should be used also as a content sharing platform. The Youku account needs to be updated.

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3

Bangkok BANGKOK

In the case of Bangkok, there are no city-specific platforms. Content related to Bangkok can be found on the Amazing Thailand website, powered by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The same label is associated with the official Weibo account. There are various official Wechat accounts, we have selected the one related to Shanghai.

3.1

Website

Amazing Thailand www.amazingthailand.org.cn

The homepage displays big-sized rotating pictures showing beautiful landscapes or illustrating current promotional activities.

Fig. 18 Amazing Thailand Homepage

Orom the Homepage users can also directly access to content relating to Latest information, Latest activities, Popular destinations and FAQ. The top bar menu presents four more main sections, namely Impressions of Thailand, Travel destinations, Special recommendations, and Strategies & Travel notes. It also displays the temperature in Bangkok, as well as the current baht/renminbi exchange rate.

Fig. 19 Top Menu

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Each of the abovementioned sections has a dropdown curtain: by clicking on the Travel destination button, visitors can choose among six main cities and islands, or select the More destinations option. The page dedicated to Bangkok shows a map, a rotating slideshow displaying different sceneries from the city, and a short introduction to the city, which references to its history, cuisine and shopping opportunities. There is also a side menu with four categories. Scenic spots presents an introduction to 18 places of interest around the city, including the Grand Palace, the Wat Phra Kaeo, etc. Travel diary shows a travel blog by a user, titled “Five things you cannot go wrong with in Thailand”, which is supposed to consist in user-created content and pictures. The third category is Transportation, giving very detailed information on how to reach Bangkok from the airport, and how to get around while in the city. The last section is Local travel agencies, which actually consists in only one listing (Jettour)

Fig. 20 Menu dedicated to Bangkok

3.2

Weibo

Amazing Thailand http://weibo.com/u/2069049432

Fig. 21 Amazing Thailand Weibo account

The official Amazing Thailand Weibo account has a 193,378 followers, and opens with a slideshow displaying pictures promoting the latest events and promotional activities sponsored by the Tourism Authority of Thailand: during the month of July 2015 three main promotional activities were advertised on the Weibo account. Among these, the one meeting the most enthusiastic reaction from the followers was “Mario takes you travelling in Thailand”, (Mali’ao dai ni you Taiguo 马里奥带你游泰国): Thai celebrity Mario Maurer was invited in Shanghai on 25 July to promote tourism in Thailand. The top post was also related to this event.

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Throughout the month of July a total of 17 posts were uploaded, with more than half of them being published from July 22 onwards. The majority of the posts were related to the promotional activity rotating around the figure of Mario Maurer. The activity was well organized, combining the allure of a celebrity, the perspective of meeting him during the event taking part in China,as well as the opportunity of winning a prize after sharing related posts.

There were also some posts showing pictures of Maurer interacting with fans at the Shanghai event. Other recurring themes were the presentation of Books about Thailand (17%), Articles about Thailand (12%), Shopping (3%), Hotel promotions (6%), and Pictures of Bangkok (6%).

Posts dealing with the Maurer promotional activity resulted to be by far the most popular amongst followers, being reposted about 130 times on average. This is in sharp contrast with the posts pertaining to other themes, which were reposted an average of 4 to 14 times.

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Posts relating to the Mario Maurer promotion resulted to be very popular also in terms of average number of likes and comments, although in both cases the figures are much lower. These posts received an average of 23 comments and 32 comments. In terms of likes, the posts containing Articles about China resulted rather popular, collecting an average of 15 likes.

It is thus very easy to see how the posts related to the Promotional activity were to most successful ones. On the other hand, posts concerning other themes were met with a remarkably tepid reaction on the follower’s part. The other promotional activity, which involved obtaining a discount at a Bangkok hotel did not appear to be so successful. The reasons behind this might be the hotel was not so appealing to Chinese users, or because the users deemed it to be too expensive.

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In order to attract more attention, it would be a good idea to try and further diversify the content, and also upload posts more frequently. A theme that is missing and that is sure to get Chinese followers interest is food: uploading pictures of Thai specialties and explaining where to find them while travelling would certainly be very popular . Most popular post: Promotional activities - Famous start Mario Maurer will come to Shanghai on July 25, 2015 to promote a tour around Thailand (355 reposts, 16 likes, 12 comments)

Least popular post: Books about Thailand – A recommended book by Jiang Zhenyu (0 reposts, 1 like, 0 comments)

3.3

WeChat

TATchina

Fig. 22 Amazing Thailand Wechat logo

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On the feed page of the Shanghai-specific Wechat account, Thai National Tourism Board – Shanghai Office (Taiguo guojia lüyouju banshichu 泰国国家旅游局上海办 事处) there is also a bottom menu with three main sections, mainly Discover Thailand, Start your journey, and Event info. Users can access content related to places of interest in Thailand, to Thai festivities, as well as practical information about travelling in Thailand. Posts are uploaded with an extremely low frequency: throughout the month of July, only 3 posts were published. All of them were related to the Mario Maurer promotional activity, and had an average of 945 hits and 5 likes. The content of the posts appears to be taken directly from the website, and users can access the original webpage through a link at the bottom of the post.


Fig. 23 Most popular post

3.4

Evaluation On the feed page of the Shanghai-specific Wechat account, Thai National Tourism Board – Shanghai Office (Taiguo guojia lüyouju banshichu 泰国国家旅游局上海办事处) there is also a bottom menu with three main sections, mainly Discover Thailand, Start your journey, and Event info. Users can access content related to places of interest in Thailand, to Thai festivities, as well as practical information about travelling in Thailand. Posts are uploaded with an extremely low frequency: throughout the month of July, only 3 posts were published. All of them were related to the Mario Maurer promotional activity, and had an average of 945 hits and 5 likes. The content of the postsappears to be taken directly from the website, and users can access the original webpage through a link at the bottom of the post.

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Copenhagen

4

The website and Weibo accounts are associated with the Visit Copenhagen brand, which was launched by Wonderful Copenhagen, the official tourism board of the city. The Wechat account, on the other hand, is managed by Visit Denmark, the national tourism bureau. There is also a Youku account under the Visit Copenhagen label.

4.1

Website

Visit Copenhagen http://www.visitcopenhagen.cn/

Fig. 24 Visit Copenhagen homepage

From the homepage visitors can choose to enter three more sections: Experience Copenhagen, Practical Guide, and Daytrips.

Fig. 25 Top Menu

In the rest of the homepage 12 rotating blocks are displayed, each redirecting the user to a list of correlated articles: we find categories such as About Andersen, Green tours, 10 places you cannot go wrong with in Copenhagen, and so on. It is very positive to find among these the category Asian food in Copenhagen, which most Chinese tourists will be interested in. There are also articles talking about what to do in Copenhagen in 12, 24 or 48 hours: this is also very good content, considering that many Chinese tourists do not spend more than a few days in each destination while traveling around Europe. There are Youku videos embedded on the homepage, as well as links to the official Weibo and Youku accounts.

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Fig. 26 Articles and videos

At the bottom of the page there is a map showing all connecting flights from Copenhagen to other European cities: Copenhagen is presented as “the door to Europe�.

4.2

Weibo

Visit Copenhagen http://weibo.com/visitcopenhagen/profile?s=6cm7D0

Fig. 27 Visit Copenhagen Weibo account

The official Visit Copenhagen account was opened in 2013, and as of July 2015 counts 18,840 followers. An average of 1 post is published each day, for a total of 35 posts. We can identify 9 main recurring themes under which the posts can be classified. The majority of the posts deal with Food & Restaurants (26%) and See & Do (26%), followed by Events (15%), Photos of the city (9%), Promotional activities (9%), Brands (6%), Memes (3%), Curious facts (3%), and Movies (3%).

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The focus on food is very positive: there are a lot of posts presenting local delicacies as well as the specific restaurant where to find them. There are also many posts containing tips on what to see and do in and around Copenhagen, news about upcoming events, and posts about Danish brands and the so-called “Danish style”. A few posts also provided information about a promotional activity Wonderful Copenhagen organized in cooperation with the rather popular Chinese travel website Qiongyou Wang 穷游网. The follower’s reaction to this kind of posts was rather mild, probably due to fact that the competition was already over, and they no longer had the prospect of winning a prize.

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Generally speaking the followers’ reaction never appeared to be of a considerable entity, since the number of reposts, likes and comments was on average not very high. The single post that enjoyed a relatively huge popularity was the one about a film title The Danish girl, which is supposed to be released in November 2015. The Movie category thus results being the most popular one in terms of number of reposts. Of course, it is necessary to keep in mind that only one post belongs to this theme. The second most popular theme is Brands, followed by Food & Restaurants and Events. It will be noticed that there is a great difference between Movies and the rest of the themes.


Movies results to be the most popular category also in terms of average number of likes and comments. Brands comes in at second place when looking at the number of likes, while the same spot is taken by Events when it comes to number of comments. In both cases Food & Restaurants holds third place.

We can therefore see that the Movie-related post was by far the most popular, followed by the ones dealing with the topics of Brands, Food & Restaurants, and Events. Among these, we can single out the posts related to the Roskilde Festival (Events), a particular kind of ice cream and fruit juices (Food & Restaurants), and the “Danish style� (Brands).

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Fig. 28 Most popular post

Most popular post: Movies – The Danish girl will be released this November (701 reposts, 167 likes, 38 comments)

Least popular post: See & Do – Copenhagen – A city you will fall in love with at first sight (1 repost, 8 likes, 0 comments)

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4.3

WeChat

VisitDenmark

The Wechat account of the national Danish tourism board is used both as a content-sharing platform and as a way for Chinese tourists to gain more information about the country. The bottom menu displays three sections: Enjoy Denmark, Free-from-worries travel guide, and Wonderful activities.

Fig. 29 Visit Denmark Wechat logo

During the month of July 2015 a total of 10 posts were published on this account, with an average of 2-3 posts per week. They dealt with a variety of themes, including Events, Curious facts, See & Do, as well as adverts promoting an Andersen-themed app.

Fig. 30 Most popular post

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The most popular post was by far the one comparing a Danish traditional dish to roujiamo 肉夹馍, a Chinese specialty: combining the topic of food with something that is China-specific is obviously a very good way of getting the Chinese users’ attention.

Youku

4.4

http://i.youku.com/copenhagen

Fig. 31 Visit Copenhagen Youku account

The official Youku account of Visit Copenhagen counts 36 subscribers and a total of 40,000 views distributed among the 48 videos that have been uploaded so far. The last video was published in December 2014. The top 3 most viewed videos are “Interesting things in Northern Europe” (8,329 views), “The winner of the 2014 Eurovision” (6,055), and “Wonderful Copenhagen” (3,137). None of the other videos surpasses 1,000 views.

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4.5

Evaluation The website has very good content, and follows what seems to be a very effective integration with the other Visit Copenhagen platforms, namely Weibo and Youku. The Weibo account is updated on a daily basis, and is used to share posts about a nice variety of topics. The cooperation between Qiongyou Wang and Wonderful Copenhagen is also a very good strategy. The Youku account could be updated more often. It would be useful to open a Visit Copenhagen Wechat account. On the other hand, the Visit Denmark Wechat account is updated only twice a week on average, but it does publish posts pertaining to several different themes.

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Berlin

5

There are three official platforms. The website is managed by the Berlin Official Tourism Board, associated with the Visit Berlin brand. Notably, a Chinese-specific label was created: Lai Bolin, which is also associated to the Weibo account. The Wechat account, on the other hand, is not city-specific: it is managed by Germany Travel.

5.1

Website

Lai Bolin www.laibolin.com

Fig. 32 Lai Bolin homepage

The website is branded as being entirely dedicated to Chinese tourists, and associated to the label Laibolin 来柏林 (“Come to Berlin”) as well as with Visit Berlin. The homepage has a top and a mid-menu bar. The sections of the top-menu bar are See Berlin, Experience Berlin, Practical information, Search & Book, and Berlin Welcome Card.

Fig. 33 Top Menu

Each of these sections comprises a great variety of subsections. The mid-menu bar acts as a sort of quick selection menu, displaying five sections: Must see places in Berlin, Big events in Berlin, Die Berlin Bade-Karte, Search & Book, and Berlin Welcome Card. Each section is also associated with a rotating picture.

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Fig. 34 Mid-Menu

Users can also chose to open a variety of articles by clicking on the thumbnails displayed on the homepage. There is a section for these articles titled Berlin highlights, which comprises a series of China-related news and articles. This is certain to attract the Chinese users’ attention, who will surely appreciate reading content related both to Berlin and to China. An app dedicated to tourists in Berlin is also advertised: Going Local Berlin. However, while this app might interest the English-speaking tourists, it will fail to appeal to those who do not know the language.

Moreover, some sections still redirect the users to English-language content and functionalities: for example, the hotel booking function is only in English. Chinese users appreciate being given the possibility of making reservations online, but the fact that the booking system is in English might discourage many of them from using it, and possibly also give a sense of frustration.

Fig. 35 China-specific content

5.2

Weibo

Lai Bolin http://www.weibo.com/laibolin/profile?s=6cm7D0

Fig. 36 Lai Bolin Weibo account

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The Laibolin official Weibo account has 38,414 followers, and it can be consider to be very active, with an average of 2 to 3 posts a day. 86 posts were uploaded in total throughout the month. The post feed also appears to be very balanced in terms of topics covered. Pictures of the city are also uploaded, almost on a daily basis. Although this might appear to be an effective strategy, since it provides a very good visual aid to improve the Weibo feed, the followers’ reaction is actually very cold, with a low number of reposts, likes and comments. During the second half of the month, several posts were about where to hold business meetings in Berlin, which can be of interest for those planning MICE strat-

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egies. And there is also some promotional activity done in conjunction with these locations. However, there is no promotional activity carried out aimed at leisure tourists. A lot of focus is put on several German artists and on their works. Other recurrent themes are Shopping, Food & Restaurants, See & Do, Events, Curious facts. There were also some ads, including some promoting the official App Going Local Berlin. By far the most numerous posts are the one containing pictures of the city, representing 29% of the total posts. This category is followed by See & Do posts (15%), Business Locations (14%), Events (11%), and Curious facts (9%).


In terms of reposts, the most popular theme appears to be Curious facts, while the least popular one is the one promoting the app.

The same situation is found if we look at the number of likes. If we look instead at the average number of comments, we find the app promotion at first place, although it must be noted that there is only one post belonging to this theme. This second theme is Events. The least popular themes are News, Food & Restaurants and Business locations.

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Overall, Curious facts, Events and Shopping appear to be very popular topics. Users are interested in knowing more about the city they visit, including less known and curious facts. They also appreciate receiving information about upcoming events taking place in their travel destination.

It must be noted, however, that even the most popular post was not shared more than 64 times and received only 12 likes and 4 comments.

Most popular post: See & Do – Don’t miss the Schloss Sanssouci Palace while visiting Potsdam since Frederick the Great was buried here (64 reposts, 12 likes, 4 comments)

Least popular post: See & Do – Neukölln – A great place to go (0 reposts, 1 like, 0 comments)

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5.3

WeChat

germanytravel

The Wechat account of the German National Tourist Board is only used as a way to interact with Chinese tourists, and not as a content sharing platform. Users are greeted with a welcome message, and are given the possibility to select between three categories of interest: Recommended Sightseeing Spots, Recommended Sightseeing Spots Data, and Travel Visa. By replying with a numerical code, users should be able to automatically receive information about one of these categories.

Fig. 37 Germany Travel Wechat logo

However, the system appears to be very slow, and the information is provided in the form of a screenshot from what appears to be another website. It would be handier to receive the information in a new message, perhaps including the link to the website.

Fig. 38 Greeting message

5.4

Evaluation The website has a good selection of content, especially when it comes to articles that deal with Sino-German relations. But the only trouble that we have with it it’s the lack of consistency when it comes to presenting all the pages in Chinese - some links guide the user to information which is only presented in English. New posts are added very frequently on the Weibo account, although their content could be adjusted by looking at what the most popular themes are. Lai Bolin should create an official Wechat account, reposting content from the website or Weibo. And of course, the Wechat account of the German National Tourism Board should be fixed.

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San Francisco

6

There is no San Francisco specific website dedicated to Chinese users. Content about this city is found in the general GoUSA website (Meiguo guojia lüyouju 美国国家旅游局). On the other hand, there is the Only in San Francisco Weibo account. The Wechat account is still managed by GoUSA.

6.1

Website

GoUSA http://www.gousa.cn/sanfrancisco

Fig. 39 Go USA homepage

Chinese travelers can access online information about the city of San Francisco by visiting the relevant section on the general GoUSA.cn site, which is targeted at Mainland Chinese tourists as well as travelers coming from Taiwan and Hong Kong (since there is the option of displaying the website in traditional Chinese). San Francisco is listed in the Cities section. The San Francisco page includes a short introduction to the city, Fig. 40 Popular article as well as a number of articles grouped into several categories. Each category is also clearly signaled by easily-identified icons, for example knife and fork for the articles related to food, a bag for those dedicated to shopping, and so on. The articles consists of a big top picture and a relatively short text. On the right side the address of the relevant location is displayed, accompanied by a map. Users can “hearth” the individual articles, share them on Weibo, and leave a comment. The most popular article appears to be the one dedicated to the Alcatraz Island, with a total of 121 likes, 19 reposts and 3 comments.

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There is also a Travel diary section dedicated to San Francisco, containing a series of articles describing the city, talking about curious facts and what to do while there. These articles are longer and go into more detail compared to other set. They can be shared but they do not have a comment section.

6.2

Weibo

Lai Bolin http://www.weibo.com/laibolin/profile?s=6cm7D0 This city-specific Weibo account was opened in 2009 and has 43,006 followers. During the month of July 2015 an average of 2 posts per day were published, adding up to a total of 78 posts for that month.

Fig. 41 Only in San Francisco Weibo account

Posts varied in content, touching upon 7 different themes. More than half of them can be categorized as See & Do (62%), while the rest dealt with Food & Restaurants (13%), showed Photos of the city (12%), talked about upcoming Events (6%), Curious facts (5%), Promotional activities (1%) or Movies (1%).

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The most shared posts were the ones about Food & Restaurants: nevertheless, we can notice that they only were reposted 36 times on average. Other popular categories in terms of reposts were Photos and See & Do.

The same situation is mirrored when looking at the number of likes. The categories receiving the highest number of comments, on the other hand, result to be Curious facts, Movies, and Photos. Still, the number of comments is extremely low, with even the most commented category receiving 3 comments on average.

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Overall, Chinese tourists travelling to San Francisco appear to be more interested in receiving information regarding food and dining options, as well as tips on what to visit. They also appreciate seeing pictures of the city.

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Fig. 42 Photos

Most popular post: Photos – Photos of SF (Never the same. Always San Francisco) (74 reposts, 57 likes, 2 comments)

Least popular post: See & Do – Flower piano – Days in San Francisco (0 reposts, 2 likes, 1 comment)

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6.3

WeChat

gousacn

The GoUSA Wechat account greets users with a welcome message, telling them that they can get information regarding their travel to the US. There is a link to content about a gastronomic tour of the States. Users can also request to have more information about the visa application process, and can message the name of a specific city to find out more about it. This last feature in particular is very useful, as it allows Chinese travelers the possibility of obtaining city-specific information in a quick way.

Fig. 43 Go USA Wechat logo

6.4

Youku

Only in San Francisco http://www.weibo.com/onlyinsanfrancisco

Fig. 44 San Francisco Youku account

The San Francisco Youku account counts 2,141 views and only 3 subscribers. A total of 28 videos were uploaded on this channel: a very important remark to be made here is that the titles of most of the videos are in English, which must not be very appealing to those Chinese users who do not know the language.

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6.5

Tencent Weibo

GoUSA http://t.qq.com/DiscoverGoUSA

GoUSA also has a Tencent Weibo account, with 8,643 followers. Despite the fact that posts are published on average twice a day, they don’t product that much engagement from the users.

Fig. 45 Go USA Tencent Weibo account

6.6

Evaluation The website is characterized by a good selection of content and a user-friendly layout. The Weibo account is being updated on a daily basis, and it shares content related to a great variety of topics. There is also a fair amount of promotional activity but it is not getting a lot of attention. The feature on the Wechat account of requesting city-specific information is quite remarkable. Both the Youku and the Weibo Tencent accounts should be improved.e. Both the Youku and the Weibo Tencent accounts should be improved.

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53


Zurich

7

The website and Wechat accounts are being managed by Zurich tourism, whereas the Weibo account is powered by the Swiss National Tourism Bureau.

7.1

Website

ZĂźrich http://cn.zuerich.com

Fig. 46 Zurich homepage

The Zurich Tourism Board Chinese website presents four main sections: Accommodation & Cuisine, Experience, Introduction, and Meetings & Reward trips.

Fig. 47 Top Menu

Users can read a short introduction to the city and a selection of latest news from Zurich. They can also access more detailed information by clicking on one of the icons on the right side of the page: they will find articles relating to Sightseeing, Flights, Travel guides, Suggested routes, Food, Photography, Shopping and News.

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Fig. 48 Introduction to Zurich

The website appears to have a relatively simple and user-friendly structure. It is positive to see that the QR code to the official Wechat account is displayed on the homepage. It also very good to find a section dedicated to MICE.

7.2

Weibo

Switzerland http://www.weibo.com/ruishi

The Wechat account belongs to the Swiss National Tourism Bureau. It was opened in 2010 and has a considerable amount of followers: 239,227.

Fig. 49 Swiss Weibo account

An average of 2 posts are uploaded everyday: over the month of July 2015 a total of 54 posts were published. Recurrent themes were See & Do, Curious facts, Events, Practical information, Promotional activities (which included special deals by Swiss Air), Food & Restaurants, Hotels, Shopping. There was also an Ads section. The majority of the posts belonged to the See & Do category (41%), followed by Curious facts (22%), Promotional activities (13%), and Events (11%).

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Of course, being the Weibo account of the national tourism board, the posts are related to the country in general and not only to Zurich. In terms of average number of reposts, the most popular category appears to be Shopping, followed by Hotels and Ads. However, in all of these three categories there is only one post, which might not be representative. These three themes are followed by Curious facts, Promotional activities, and See & Do.

When looking at the number of likes, Shopping and Hotels also appear at first and second place. They are followed by Food & Restaurants, Curious facts and See & Do. In terms of number of comments, the top theme is Promotional activities, followed by Curious facts and Shopping.

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All in all, the most popular topics were Shopping, Promotional activities and Curious facts.

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Most popular post: Promotional activities – Deals with Swiss Air (191 reposts, 53 likes, 52 comments) Least popular post: Curious facts – Repost: A blog about Switzerland (3 reposts, 11 likes, 2 comments)

Fig. 50 Post about winter Olympics

An interesting post is the one drawing a parallel between China winning the bid for the 2020 winter Olympics and Switzerland hosting the 2022 Youth winter Olympics. The post was shared only 49 times, but it received 103 likes and 19 comments.

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7.3

WeChat

ZurichTourism

The Zurich Tourism official Wechat account presents a bottom menu providing access to information to Travel strategies, Activities, and About us. During the month of July 2015, only one post was uploaded every week. Three of them were related to See & Do content, and one to Hotels. They had an average of 1,149 hits and 6 likes.

Fig. 51 Zurich Wechat logo

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Users can read a short introduction to the city and a selection of latest news from Zurich. They can also access more detailed information by clicking on one of the icons on the right side of the page: they will find articles relating to Sightseeing, Flights, Travel guides, Suggested routes, Food, Photography, Shopping and News.

Fig. 52 Most popular post

7.4

Evaluation The website seems to provide good, accessible content. It is directly linked to the Wechat account of the city. However, this account would benefit from a more frequent updating. The country-related Weibo account is updated very often and is also used to bring forth small-scale promotional activities.

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61


Sydney

8

None of these platforms are actually specifically related to the city of Sydney. The website is powered by Tourism Australia (Visit Australia brand). The Weibo account is associated with the See Australia label, and the Wechat account is also managed by Tourism Australia.

8.1

Website

Australia http://www.australia.cn/destination/new-south- wales/sydney

Fig. 53 Sydney homepage

On the Australia.cn visitors can access sections named About Australia, Travel destinations, Explore, Plan your journey, Recommended activities, and Memory of the journey. Sydney-specific content is found in the Travel destinations area, which includes cities, provinces and territories.

Fig. 54 Top Menu

The page dedicated to Sydney has a short introduction to the city, which is also highlighted on a map of Australia. More information is found under four other sub-sections, namely Accommodations, Tourism specialists, Local tourist agencies, and Scenic spots. There is also a Special category which is linked to a number of high quality pictures of the city.

Fig. 55 Introduction to Sydney

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8.2

Weibo

See Australia http://www.weibo.com/seeaustralia The See Australia Weibo account was opened in 2010 and counts 413,053 followers. An average of 1-2 posts are published each day: throughout the month of July 2015 a total of 37 posts was uploaded.

Fig. 56 Sydney Weibo account

It must be pointed out that most posts were not specific to Sydney, and actually there was more content related to the city of Melbourne. Most posts were related to what to See & Do in Australia (59%). Other categories were Food & Restaurants (11%), Photos (11%), Hotels (5%), Practical information (2%), Celebrities (3%), Job postings (3%), Promotional activities (3%), and Shopping (3%).

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The most popular post was the only one belonging to the Practical information category, in terms of number of reposts, likes and comments. Other popular themes were Celebrities (number of reposts), Shopping (number of likes and comments).

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Most popular post: Practical information – The convenience of applying for an Australian visa (383 reposts, 125 likes, 137 comment) Least popular post: Food & Restaurants – Fat Duck, a famous restaurant in Melbourne (6 reposts, 5 likes, 1 comment)

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8.3

WeChat

tourismaustralia

The official Wechat account of the Australian tourism board has a post feed which was not updated very often during the month of July 2015. A total of 6 posts were published. The content of the posts varied from See & Do, to Hotels, to tips about Food & Restaurants, and Events. Of the six posts, only one was Sydney-specific. The most popular post was about the Top 10 Hotels in Australia, with a total of 12,832 hits and 53 likes. The Wechat feed page also has a bottom menu with four main sections: About Oceania, Beautiful videos, Plan your trip, and Special activities. Fig. 57 Sydney Wechat logo

Fig. 58 Most popular post

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8.4

Evaluation The relevant sections of the website have a good selection of content. The Weibo and Wechat accounts should be updated more frequently, and there should be more interactive features.

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Wellington

9

The website and the Weibo accounts are managed by the Positively Wellington Trusts in cooperation with other regional organizations, with the brand Absolutely Positively Wellington. The Wechat account is instead powered by Tourism New Zealand, under the label of 100% Pure New Zealand.

9.1

Website

Absolutely Positively Wellington http://www.wellingtonnz.com/cn

Fig. 59 Absolutely Positively Wellington

The official Wellington website is actually available in only three language, namely English, Spanish, and simplified Chinese. The homepage displays four main sections: Explore, Living in Wellington, Tourist information, and Business. Interestingly, the Living in Wellington area provides information that does not only pertain to a tourist’s sphere of interest; it talks about studying or working in the city, the life cost, and so on. Furthermore, in the Business section users can discover more about starting their own business in Wellington.

Fig. 60 Top Menu

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Fig. 61 Top Banner


9.2

Weibo

See Australia http://www.weibo.com/seeaustralia

Fig. 62 Absolutely Positively Wellington Weibo account

The official Weibo of Absolutely Positively Wellington was opened in 2013 and has 1,807 followers, which is a very modest figure. Throughout the month of July 2015, only 3 posts were uploaded, dealing with the travel destination Dunedin and the Zealandia Eco-sanctuary, home of the kakapo birds. The three posts received an average of 1 repost, 1 like, and 0 comments. We see how the account would benefit greatly from uploading more content (with a larger variety of subjects) and attract a higher number of followers.

9.3

WeChat

canadatravel

Fig. 63 100% Pure Zew Zealand Wechat logo

The Wechat account of the New Zealand Tourism Board, 100 % Pure New Zealand, appears to be updated slightly more frequently compared to Wellington’s Weibo account. Throughout July 2015 a total of 12 posts where published. The topics varied from tips for See & Do, local Events, Curious facts, Food & Restaurants, and Photos. Notably, there were two posts related to a Promotional activity, a lottery in which users had to name their favorite sport from New Zealand. Only one post resulted to be specific to Wellington: an article talking about cafÊs in the city.

The posts received an average of 3,449 hits and 15 likes.

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The two most popular post were the ones published on July 10, titled “Spend 15 days in New Zealand during the winter” (7,896 hits and 31 likes), and on July 26, titled “9 tips to look cool while taking street pics” (7,346 hits, 44 likes). On the main feed page, users can also access additional information through the bottom menu, which includes three sections: New – Explore (with an introduction to the country, plus information about visa and accommodation),

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New – Recommended (information about travel routes, what you need to know while driving in New Zealand), and New – Discover (must-know information, latest offers, and so on). The addition of the word “new” to all these titles is meant to be a pun, a wordplay with the name of the country. Given that wordplays are used very often in Chinese, this might actually be a small yet effective strategy of getting the Chinese users’ attention.


Fig. 64 popular post 1

9.4

Fig. 65 popular post 2

Evaluation The website is set apart from the other by the fact that it also provides content for people interested in living in New Zealand. The Weibo account definitely needs to be updated. The Wechat account is being used more frequently, providing content about a lot of different topics.

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10

Toronto

The website is dedicated to the city of Toronto, powered by Tourism Toronto (under the TorontoTM label). The Weibo account is also associated with the brand TorontoTM. The Wechat account, on the other hand, is managed by the national board Destination Canada, linked to the brand Canada Travel (Jianada lüyouju 加拿大旅游局).

10.1

Website

TorontoTM http://seetorontonow.cn/

The Seetorontonow.cn is the official Tourism Toronto website in Chinese. This official website is actually available in a in nine different languages: English, Canadian French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, German, Italian and European French. It is thus very positive to see how the Chinese language version does not appear to be simply a translation of the original content, but seems to be tailored, at least to a certain extent, on the needs and expectations of Chinese travelers.

Fig. 32 Lai Bolin homepage

Fig. 66 Toronto homepage

The website has 5 main sections, namely Must-see spots in Toronto, Day trip to Niagara, Chinese people in Toronto, Meetings and reward trips, and Plan your trip. The Must-see spots include tourist and cultural attractions, as well as shopping and dining locations. It is very good to see the Chinese people in Toronto category, since it shows a focus on the Chinese culture present in the city. The Meetings and reward trips area is also something that many Chinese company would be interested in.

Fig. 67 Top Menu

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The homepage also shows a slideshow displaying the top news and stories. Notably, one of the rotating banners was about Huang Xuan - a famous Chinese actor who shoot a film in Canada. According to the banner, Huang travelled in and around Toronto, and is now sharing the experience of his trip.

Fig. 68 Huang Xuan banner

Other notably positive aspects of the website are: an integration of a hotel booking service, a list of videos about Toronto, as well as a number of articles regarding events taking place in the city.

10.2

Weibo

TorontoTM http://www.weibo.com/torontotravel

Fig. 69 Toronto Weibo account

The official Tourism Toronto Weibo account was opened in 2012, and counts 11,703 followers. Unfortunately, the last post dates back from February 2014. It is not wise that the great marketing potential of Weibo is wasted, since Tourism Toronto could simply repost the content from their Chinese website, and obtain greater visibility among Chinese netizens.

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10.3

WeChat

canadatravel

Users can browse the bottom menu to obtain information about three main categories: Wonderful destinations, Start your journey, and Latest activities. There is also a post feed that is generally updated on daily basis, with an average of 1 post per day. The content of the posts is related to the country in general, and varies between Events and festivities, See & Do, Curious facts, News from around the world. From a graphic and design standpoint the articles are very well produced and they wisely tap into the fortunate coincidence that the two countries are sharing the same representative colour – red. Fig. 70 Canada Travel Wechat logo

The most popular post is the one wishing the users Happy Canada Day (33,002 hits and 99 likes, against the average of 5,931 hits and 25 likes): this actually shows an interest on the part of Chinese users to know more about the traditions and custom of a country.

Fig. 71 Most popular post

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10.4

Youku

TorontoTM http://i.youku.com/u/UNDA3MzkzMDE2

Fig. 72 Toronto Youku account

See Toronto Now also has a Youku account, which has 1,486 views and only 1 subscriber. 8 videos have been uploaded to the channel, the latest dating back to September 2014. It really goes without saying that this channel needs a very long overdue update.

10.5

Evaluation The website contains information dedicated exclusively for Chinese users, and it offers features that are usually appreciated by Chinese tourists, such as the hotel booking platform. The Wechat account is updated on a daily basis, although content is seldom related to the city of Toronto. On a less desirable note, the TorontoTM Weibo and Youku have not been updated in a long time.

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3.

Conclusion

Renren was one of China’s first social media platform and an almost 1-1 copycat of Facebook. However, Renren has failed to gain the traction Facebook has obtained in the west, and it is now quickly being bypassed by other platform, not least WeChat.

1. Singapore 2. Seoul 3. Bangkok 4. Copenhagen 5. Berlin

6. San Francisco 7. Zurich 8. Sydney 9. Wellington 10. Toronto

Singapore was awarded the first place because it makes efficient use of all the three official platforms, it has a wellbuilt website, it has initiated a cooperation with Maotuying, and it also caters to MICE planners. Moreover, it updates its Weibo feed multiple times per day, and it exploits the Wechat account to its full potential.

It is very positive that Berlin created a Chinese-specific brand for itself, and that it is posting a lot of content on Weibo. However the absence of a city-specific Wechat account and the nuisance created by the slow Germany Travel account should be solved.

Seoul also has a very good website, complete with a MICE section and a cooperation with Maotuying. It is good that it highlights the shopping experience and that it exploits the popularity of Korean “idols”. However, the Weibo feed could be updated with a higher frequency, and Wechat is not currently used to share content. Bangkok also has a quite poor Weibo and Wechat feed, however it managed to orchestrate the main promotional activity of the month in an excellent way, utilizing all three the platforms. Also, the activity involved a famous Thai celebrity, offering to the fans the possibility of meeting him in person in China. Copenhagen creates and shares very good content, updating the Weibo account on a daily basis. It is also cooperating with Chinese website Qiongyou Wang, which is a very good strategy.

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San Francisco Weibo feed should be adjusted by publishing content which is more appreciated by the users. It also needs to create its own Wechat account, although it is a good thing that users can directly request more information about San Francisco from the GoUSA account. Both Zurich and Sydney would benefit from a more frequent update of their accounts. Wellington is in definite need to update more frequently its Weibo, whereas it is of absolute importance that Toronto starts posting again, since the last micro-blog dates back from last year. As a way to close the report on a useful note, we will provide below a detailed list of the Top 10 Marketing Strategies to Attract Chinese Tourists, with the hope that it can of some use for those venturing into this field.


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Top 10 Marketing Strategies to Attract Chinese Tourists

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1. Promotional activities Offering Discounts may not be enough Traditionally speaking, when talking about promotional activities the first thing that comes in to mind is providing discounts or special offers to some lucky customer. Let us be clear, Chinese consumers love receiving discounts and special prices, however to really grasp their attention you should publicize your promotional activity as something more than just the opportunity of saving money. If in many cases the promotion takes part in the form of a lottery, in others it’s a competition, a chance for Chinese users to interact, share information and opinions. There have been posts about special prices offered by hotels which have received only a mild reaction on the followers’ part. On the contrary, the promotional activity organized by Amazing Thailand in cooperation with Mario Maurer turned out to be a very popular theme among Chinese followers. Apart from the charm of the actor, people may also have been attracted by the fact that the event really received a full coverage, building up a concrete experience around it.

“Offer them an experience”

BEST PRACTICE: Bangkok

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2. Foodie culture Taking pictures of your food is a must. If once Chinese and other Asian tourists’ obsession with talking pictures at everything, food included, was making us smile, nowadays with the rise of the hipster counter-culture, everybody in the west is putting their phones’ camera at use. You should rember that in China there are still a lot of self-proclaimed foodies (chihuo 吃货), who love to eat, taking pictures of what they eat, and sharing them with their friends. The stereotypical Chinese tourist is thought of as always going for Chinese food even while abroad: but the reality is that more and more Chinese travellers are eager to try local delicacies. Showing them posts about traditioal or special dishes, complete with good quality pictures, is a good way of gaining the attention of that group of Chinese users.

BEST PRACTICE:

Singapore, Copenhagen

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“China has a massive foodie culture”


3. Visual identity Remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. There is nothing better than complementing excellent content with some stunning photos. The visual aid provided by a good, high-quality picture is priceless: it will actually make the Chinese users “wish they were there”. The subject of the picture can be anything: a breathtaking natural landscape, the romantic night view of a city, or even small details of a shop or a restaurant.

“Make them travel through your images”

However, it is also important not to overwhelm the Chinese users by inundating them with pictures, like in the case of the Berlin. If the pictures are too many too often, the followers’ reactions to them becomes remarkably tepid.

BEST PRACTICE: Sydney

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4. Update It is also a matter of credibility. We have said it before, and we are going to repeat it now. Once you register your official account, be sure to keep it updated, the same way you would keep your website updated. If a Chinese users decides to follow you, you should not let months and months pass before uploading new content. It would be frustrating for the user who is seeking for fresh posts and information, and will negatively reflect on you. Coming up with content to be posted on your Weibo or Wechat feed does not need to be time consuming; in most cases it is sufficient to repost content from another platform (such as the official website). It is more likely to reach out to a wider audience in this way.

WORST PRACTICE: Toronto

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“An outdated account makes you look bad�


5. MICE Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions. Given the growth that is being experienced by Chinese outbound tourism, it is not very surprising that also MICE tourism to foreign destination is now increasing. A great number of companies in China are now willing to organize meetings abroad, or even send their employees on reward trips.

“MICE tourism is growing in China�

This is an excellent opportunity for luxury hotels, travel agencies and other tourist service providers. For the time being most Chinese MICE travelers are redirected to neighboring countries and areas, such as Hong Kong, Macau, Japan and Thailand. This is probably correlated to the fact that obtaining visas for these destinations is not very hard, or simply not necessary. However there also was a growth of MICE tourism to the USA. European destinations should take this opportunity to create a brand new market for the Chinese business travelers.

BEST PRACTICE:

Singapore, Seoul, Berlin, Toronto, Zurich

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6. Stay relevant You need to be on the platforms that count. Compared to the West, the social media landscape in China can evolve very quickly. It is thus very important that you are up-do-date with what the most popular platforms and websites are. As we had already mentioned, Renren was pointed out as being a “Chinese Facebook”. A westerner wanting to start a social media campaign in China might make the mistake of thinking that Renren actually still enjoys a level of popularity and penetration comparable to the one Facebook has in the west but that is quite far from the present reality. At the time being the two fundamental social media, that you want to be registered to, are Sina Weibo and Wechat. Of course, matters may turn out to be very different just in a few years’ time, so be sure to be on the lookout for any changes in the sphere of Chinese social media.

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“The Chinese social media landscape is evolving fast”


7. Think “Chinese” Be sure to meet their expectations. While creating content to upload and share on Chinese social media, it is not sufficient to simply translate something that was previously created for a different segment of consumers. It would be ideal to edit the content accordingly, checking for any cultural differences, making sure that you are conveying your message in best possible way.

“Don’t be afraid to be ‘silly’”

If you are having a text translated into Chinese, be sure to provide top quality translations. The best way would be to assign a Chinese native speaker in charge of the content creation. Moreover, keep in mind that there is a huge difference in style when it comes to marketing in China compared to western countries. China acquired a taste for kawaii, for playful images, for cute cartoons, for bubble-heads and funny comics. To a European all of this might even seem to be lacking professionalism, but in fact it simply belongs to another way of coding and expressing emotions and information. For example, make sure that your Weibo post always have a few emoticons, which will serve to emphasize and amplify the message expressed by text and pictures.

BEST PRACTICE: Copenhagen

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8. Chinese Partners Cooperate with established Chinese platforms. Another great way of achieving more visibility among Chinese tourists is to initiate a cooperation with a Chinese travel booking or sharing website. The number of established platforms in China is growing, and many of them are actually actively seeking new partners outside China, and also in Europe. Whether you organize an advertising campaign by purchasing banner space on their websites, or you launch a promotional activity or competition together, the cooperation is surely going to benefit you.

BEST PRACTICE:

Copenhagen, Singapore, Seoul

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“More and more Chinese platforms are collaborating with European partners�


9. Celebrity effect Know whom you should get onboard. Chinese fans love receiving updates from their favorite actors and singers. This is why inviting a star to take part in a promotional campaign is usually a winning move. If there is nobody from your country that is famous enough to act as a tourist ambassador in China, another very good option is to invite Chinese celebrities to visit your country.

“A VIP tourist is always a good strategy�

They will post pictures on their official Weibo account, they will write about their experience in their blogs, and they will guarantee that your travel destination gets a lot of visibility among their followers.

BEST PRACTICE: Bangkok, Seoul

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10. Details matter! Be a perfectionist. Fix the minor bugs in your website; make sure that all the links redirect the Chinese user to Chinese-language pages; have someone proofread several times the translation into Chinese, so that you are sure that nothing sounds awkward. These might at first seem small details in the grand scheme of a marketing campaign, but it is still better to go through these small things to make sure that none of them is going to ruin the overall impact of your marketing strategy. Also adding small functionalities to your website can create a good impression on the Chinese user: for example, you can include the weather of your city, as well as the updated currency exchange rate.

BEST PRACTICE: Bangkok

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“Do not underestimate small flaws�


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Winning the chinese tourist  

How 10 cities use online marketing to win the hearts of China's outbound tourists

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