Cashing in on outbound Chinese travelers is challenging these days. A joint report from Ctrip and the China Tourism Academy shows that even though the appetite for outbound travel remains strong, average dollar spending in the market declined by 14.2 percent last year from 2016. Therefore, it’s vital for brands, OTAs (online travel agencies), and other cultural institutions to understand who influences the market that they increasingly rely on and to keep Chinese outbound travelers spending.

Standing apart from most travel influencers is a small group of KOLs that insist on traveling in style. They’re an artful group whose alluring travel posts on social media offer aspirational value and are highly persuasive to consumers. Thankfully for brands, Jing Daily has waded through a virtual sea of Chinese travel influencers and identified seven of the most important Chinese travel bloggers—with a fashionable flavor—that you need to know (based on social media numbers, the caliber of brands, and aesthetics, among other qualities).

Photo: Molly/Weibo.

1. Molly 猫力

Weibo @猫力molly: 4.7M

WeChat @maolispace: 26.8K

Meipai @猫力molly: 418K

Instagram @maolimaoli: 781K

Yizhibo @猫力molly: 4.8M

Molly is the poster child for FIT (free independent traveler) types among younger generations, and she’s the fashionista who’s also worn the travel blogger hat the longest (since 2012). She gained fame for her 2013 book about the behind-the-scenes excitement (and drama) of her and her boyfriend’s travel experiences. Molly’s earnest depiction of free spirits traveling abroad was a hit, but some readers criticized the book’s lack of depth and informational tips. But those questions haven’t stopped Molly from commercializing her fame. She’s worked with the jewelry maker Tiffany to promote a city-themed accessory and recently went on a Canadian cruise trip to learn about the source for one of La Mer’s facial products. She’s also appeared in promotional videos for T Galleria by DFS while espousing the virtues of her trip to Auckland, New Zealand.

Photo: Chen Jinghua/Weibo

2. Chen Jinghua北京小风子

Weibo @北京小风子: 2.0M

WeChat @jinghuacd: 23.9K

Little Red Book: 923.8K

The 25-year-old Chen Jinghua, nicknamed 北京小风子, once confessed on her blog that she saw sharing her travel experiences as an escape from her heavy undergraduate workload at Columbia University, yet only a few years later, she found herself atop Forbes’ 2018 30 Under 30 Travel list as the founder and CEO of her company Jinghua Chuangdang. Her down-to-earth, hardworking persona has garnered her a solid fan base, and she’s gone on to work with TUMI and Sony while also designing and co-branding a necklace with Chow Tai Fook Jewelry.

Photo: Xiao Xiaosha/Weibo

3. Xiaoxiao Sha 小小莎老师

Weibo @小小莎老师: 1.6M

Yizhibo: 1.7M

Before quitting her full-time job to become a travel blogger, Xiao Xiaosha made a living by teaching Chinese to foreigners. Xiao smartly gathered first-hand feedback from her Chinese fans (a group that shares her passion for travel) and is now considered an expert on that demographic and their travel needs. Estée Lauder’s travel team invited her to New York to speak about Chinese travel behavior. She’s also become active in the travel retail industry, having recently appeared at an Estée Lauder pop-up event at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport while also promoting travel packages for La Mer and SK-II.

Photo: Ma Liang/Weibo

4. Ma Liang 安东尼

Weibo @安东尼: 3.2M

WeChat: 30.5K

Just like Molly, Ma Liang (AKA Anthony) is a household name among Chinese millennials for his best-selling book that was later adapted into the blockbuster film, A Journey Through Time With Anthony. The story, which poetically depicts Liang’s life in Dalian, China, and his journey to Melbourne, Australia, during his early 20s, resonated with readers and many continue to follow his journeys abroad via social media. Tommy Hilfiger recently selected Liang as one of its Tommy Hilfiger Icons—alongside supermodels Winnie Harlow and Hailey Baldwin—and he walked Hilfiger’s runway shows in Shanghai.

Photo: Phoney/Weibo

5. Phoney Chan

Weibo @PhoneyChina: 808.6K

WeChat @heyphoney: 2.5K

Instagram @phoneychan: 13K

Phoney Chan is a refreshing sight to travel bloggers, thanks to her natural approach and tasteful fashion pics. After graduating from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, she quickly built her own brand (PHO Studio) after having promoted Chinese fashion label like Uma Wang and Dongliang. You can follow her on Instagram, where she’s often posting pics at local museums in budget-friendly destinations like Iceland, Japan and Hong Kong.

Photo: Edie/Weibo

6. 桃巫奇edie

Weibo @桃巫奇edie: 1.2M

Yizhibo @桃巫奇edie: 1.2M

Tao Liqi displays the spirit of rebellion through her love of underground culture and fashion. As the former editor at the magazine MILK and the fashion platform YOHO!, Liqi went on to become a professional fashion stylist in her own right and won a spot on the Chinese reality TV show Go! Wardrobe. She’s also started her own brand (Triple T) and has promoted the jewelry brand APM Monaco, DFS, and Estée Lauder.

Photo: Gong Linxuan/Weibo

7. Gong Linxuan 龚林轩

Weibo @龚林轩: 275K

Even though Gong Linxuan’s social media numbers are not as high as the others on this list, the book author follows fashion trends more than most. He’s a part-time fashion commentator on Weibo who frequently talks about recent runway pieces and fashion campaigns. He’s also been tapped to create regular promotional posts by fashion houses like Yves Saint Laurent, Prada and Louis Vuitton for his like-minded fans.

Categories

Travel Tech & Social Media