Chinese millennial travelers are the most frequent travelers in China, and Chinese travelers spend more of their budget on shopping, attractions, and tours than their UK and U.S. counterparts. This according to a report published by Expedia Media Solutions, the advertising arm of industry juggernaut Expedia Group. The report compares travel behavior and preferences across generations between Chinese, British, and American travelers to extrapolate trends useful in travel marketing.

According to the Expedia study, Chinese millennial travelers (CMTs) stood out as the most frequent travelers across all generations and nationalities surveyed—with an average 5.8 trips taken per year. However, CMTs also proved more likely to go on short vacations compared to other groups, with China’s Generation Z the only group that spent fewer days on vacation during their last trip.

Photo: Expedia Media Solutions

For CMTs, relaxing and sightseeing are quoted as the most important things to do on vacation, followed by “family play”—with CMTs ranking first across these three types of vacationing. Perhaps surprisingly considering their age, China’s Generation Z was the group of travelers that had gone on “romantic getaways” the most in the last year, closely followed by CMTs.

And while there are many companies and Airbnb hosts that hope CMTs will embrace alternative accommodation, Expedia’s study found that hotels were the by far most popular type of accommodation at close to 80 percent. In fact, CMTs turned out no more likely to prefer alternative accommodation types than China’s Generation X. Perhaps the biggest hope for alternative accommodation lies in China’s Generation Z, which had a much higher preference for such stays compared to the other groups.

Photo: Expedia Media Solutions

CMTs also proved to be less fixed on what destinations to visit—perhaps making them more sensitive to destination marketing campaigns than older generations. However, Chinese travelers as a whole are much less likely than Britons and Americans to be choosing between multiple destinations for their trips, including millennials.

The report also finds that Chinese millennial travelers are heavily influenced by appealing imagery in ads, much more so than older generations and other nationalities. For CMTs, the most important characteristics in travel ads are that they are visually appealing and informative—with advertised deals relatively unimportant compared to for other customer segments.

Photo: Expedia Media Solutions

When traveling, Expedia found that, for Chinese travelers, “younger generations [are] looking for travel experiences with pampering, fun and friends, while Boomers value activities.”

Lastly, Chinese travelers are identified as much more likely to use smartphones in all stages of travel than travelers from the United Kingdom and the United States. Chinese travelers were found to be almost twice as likely to research travel and look for inspiration than their overseas counterparts—clearly illustrating the need for a mobile-heavy strategy in the Chinese travel market.


Travel Trends