Chinese women don’t just hold up half the sky, they’re holding up entire industries. A growing proportion of travel consumers and decision-makers in China are now women. And social media is playing a pivotal role in their travel decisions, with short video platforms like Douyin and vlogs expanding their influence in the lucrative sector.

China’s most popular online travel agency, Ctrip.com International, released a report just ahead of International Women’s Day (Friday, March 8th), stating that women travel more than their male counterparts, while also spending more as well. This data is backed up by the family travel site Lvmama’s report showing that women make up 60 percent of all bookings on the platform. Lvmama added that women do a great deal more research on destinations than men. Li Qiuqi, head of brand development at Lvmama, said in an interview with the Chinese travel media Pinchain that women focus more on quality when booking tours and experiences. Li added that they are more willing to pay more for travel products that viewed as higher quality.

Both platforms, however, also noted the increase in women planning independent trips. Most importantly, Ctrip notes that in the case of girlfriends’ trips, 62 percent of customers book hotels near shopping centers, indicating that travel retail is not falling out of favor among Chinese tourists.

These recent reports support the data released by Ctrip and MasterCard in November 2018 emphasizing Chinese women free independent travelers (FITs) — tourists who self-book itineraries and travel in group of fewer than 10 — spend about 14 percent more on their trips than their male counterparts. Meanwhile, younger travelers — those born in the 1990s and early 2000s — outspend their elders; this may be due to the simple fact that this younger travel segment is only increasing. Here are some more of the most important findings in the two platforms’ reports:

  • 70 percent of hotel bookings are made by women; whether for solo, couples, friends, or family travel (Ctrip)
  • 75 percent of women book four- or five-star hotels for family vacations (Ctrip)
  • 57 percent of solo travelers in 2018 were women (Ctrip)
  • 65 percent of FITs were women (Lvmama)
  • 35 percent of women choose to travel with friends (Lvmama)
  • 21 percent of women choose to travel alone (Lvmama)
  • Female users on Lvmama travel an average of twice per year
  • 10 percent of women book their trips about three months in advance, with 30 percent booking a month in advance (Lvmama)
  • Women spent an average of $35 (RMB 235.3) per meal while traveling, compared $30.60 (RMB 205.8) for men (Ctrip)
  • Only 9 percent of female travelers made reservations at Western-style restaurants through Ctrip
  • Bookings for activities like zip lining, rafting, skydiving, and bungee jumping increased 12 percent year-on-year (Lvmama)

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