The Hurun Research Institute and ILTM China have joined forces to release The Chinese Luxury Traveler 2018 for the eight successive year, the report is based on deep research into travel preferences and consumption among Chinese high-end travelers, and the trends expected to arise in future.
Key Findings of the Report:
1. Destinations: In the past year, the top 5 most popular overseas destinations for Chinese high-end travelers were Europe (39%), the Americas (36%), Africa (29%), Southeast & South Asia (23%) and Japan & South Korea (22%). Africa rose fastest, breaking into the top three as it increased from 15% last year to 29%. The Americas increased by 5%, rising to second. Top-placed Europe fell 6% compared with last year.
2. Travel themes: the surprise vacation theme last year was islands and beaches. Its popularity seems to have peaked, however, with the selection rate dipping to 13% this year. Travel around the world saw the fastest rate of growth, establishing itself in pole position with an increase from 13% last year to 37%. Polar exploration, the most popular theme last year, fell by 8.5% and takes second place with a rate of 22%. Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher says "Travel around the world ranks at the top, indicating that people are travelling while learning, though interest in Polar exploration has gone down a lot this year". A prominent new travel theme in recent years, parent-child travel enters the top three with 19%.
3. Vacation destinations for 2019 Chinese New Year: 64% of respondents have chosen to take an outbound trip during Chinese New Year next year. The top three destinations are Australia (20%), Thailand (18%) and New Zealand (17%). 29% of respondents will stay in China. The most popular choice is to return to one’s hometown, with 10%, followed by trips to Sanya and Yunnan close behind with 8% and 6% respectively.
4. Travel times: the proportion of travelers choosing not to travel at fixed times throughout the year increases by 8% compared with the previous year, up to 45%. With regards to travel during public holidays, the Chinese New Year is the top choice, taking up 23%; the National Day holiday (19%) comes second, while the Labour Day holiday (8%) and Mid-Autumn Festival (6%) are the next most popular. Travelling during the summer holiday season increased once again by 4%, up to 19%.
5. Main travel concerns: the biggest travel worries are traffic safety, with a noteworthy 42%, followed by natural disasters (25%), robbery and theft (22%), being ripped off (12%), dietary hygiene (11%) and travel facility safety (11%). It is clear that safety issues are the biggest concerns for travelers.
6. Travel agency selection: over half of high-end travelers opt for personalised service as the key consideration when a selecting a travel agency, with half choosing a well-planned itinerary. 45% of travelers prioritise problem-solving capacity. Creative itineraries and hard-to-find resources are among the top five factors for consideration, having been chosen by nearly 30% of travelers.
7. Transport: when it comes to domestic airlines, Air China is the carrier of choice among high-end travelers by a considerable margin with 50%; China Eastern comes second, with its selection rate increasing by 7% to 28%; China Southern ranks third with 23%. Among international airlines, Emirates remains in top spot.
8. Hotel/Accommodation: Ritz-Carlton is the most popular luxury hotel brand once again. With regards to hotel membership, the Hyatt scheme is the most popular, being preferred by 26% of high-end travelers, up from a mere 3% last year.
Holiday rentals: in addition to traditional hotel accommodation, 24% of travelers will consider Airbnb-style holiday home rentals, more or less the same proportion as the previous year. ‘Strong sense of belonging and experience of local life’, ‘lower price’, and ‘family atmosphere’ are their main rationale for taking this route. Rupert Hoogewerf says ‘the performance of the high-end short-stay holiday home market has been weak. However, as traveling as a family grows in popularity, the market is likely to see significant development in the future.”
9. Home stay: 24% of people would choose home stay, maintaining the same level as last year. “Better understanding the local life”, “reasonable prices”, “family atmosphere” are the main reasons for them to choose home stay. Rupert Hoogewerf says, “High end home stay should have a bright future, and lot of people like to travel with two or three families.”
10. Popular cuisine: local cuisine is undoubtedly the most popular style of food when traveling. Other well-received cuisines among high-end travelers, ranked in order of popularity, include Japanese, Sichuan and Hunan, Cantonese, Italian, French and Southeast Asian.
11. Holiday homes: nearly half of high-end travelers interviewed have purchased holiday homes, with 11% of them in Thailand, 10% in Australia and 5% in both Switzerland and Japan; in China, Sanya is the location of choice, with a selection rate of 12%. The homes have an average floor space of 100m2. Apartments and villas are the favoured mode of residence. In terms of surrounding environs, homes with a sea view are the most popular.
12. Future trends: demand for smart accommodation experiences, including VR, house-viewing videos and AI services, is expected to rise,.
13. Methodology: The quantitative survey encompasses data from 236 respondents, showing that they have been to 20 countries on average, and 20% have been to 50 countries. Average spending on family travel is CNY350,000. Rupert Hoogewerf says, “It is really takes an effort to find more than 200 high net worth individuals who spend more than CNY 350,000 per year on travel. These people represent the future trend of China’s high end travel. We highly appreciate the support from four agencies, including Diadema, Magic Travel, Zanadu, and 8continents, to our research this year.
The data behind the research are drawn from the Chinese Luxury Travel and Lifestyle Survey 2018, a cooperative venture between Hurun Report and four travel agencies, namely DIADEMA, MAGIC TRAVEL, ZANADU and 8 Continents.
The quantitative survey encompasses data from 236 respondents hailing from 43 cities nationwide, including first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and second- and third-tier cities such as Xi’an, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Nanchang, Qingdao, Dalian and Suzhou.
The respondents are 38 years old on average, and are 30% male and 70% female. 69% are married and among them, 42% have one child; 21% have two children; 33% have no child. Their average wealth amounts to CNY20 million, with 41% derived from salaries, 39% from investment returns, and 26% from enterprise ownership rights.
They have worked or studied overseas for 2.7 years on average and have visited 20 countries. They take an average of three trips annually and spend 26 days per time. Average family spending on travel is CNY350,000. Average family spending on shopping during travel is CNY180,000, and average budget for accommodation per night is CNY2,300.
Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman & Chief Researcher of Hurun Report, said: “Chinese high end travelers more and more recognize the value of services, and are less concerned about the prices compared to the past. 42% of the respondents’ budgets are above CNY3000 for one night at a hotel, and 66% of high end travelers choose to take first class/business class to travel, a complete change from five years ago. I am delighted that Hurun Report is once again the official partner of ILTM China, the global high-end travel industry leader, for the twelfth successive year, and that we have collaborated to release the Chinese Luxury Traveler for past eight years to explore the trends and trajectories of the high-end travel market.”
Read the full report here.