China’s post-’90s-born travelers are constantly seeking experiences—a trend already covered by many reports—and they want to share those experiences with the internet, but also with their friends on the trip, according to Chinese online travel agency Tuniu’s “Post-’90s Tourism Consumption Report.”
Released on November 12, the report is partly based on the consumption trends during this year’s Singles’ Day shopping holiday on November 11, and said that the number of post-’90s travelers in 2018 increased by 10 percent year-on-year.
Based on results of its survey and reports by Chinese media outlet Sina, the travel agency claims that the post-’90s traveler demographic wants to take photos and videos to share on social media. Alibaba’s online travel agency Fliggy echoed this trend, noting that many of those consumers made thousands of reservations for four and five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, which are experiences that would likely be shared on social media channels like WeChat, Weibo, and Douyin.
Most post-’90s travelers want their experience to include a lot of walking, local markets, food, and interacting with locals
The vast majority of respondents to Tuniu’s survey (97 percent) said that they wanted to walk around and visit local markets at a destination. Night markets and seeking out local specialties were top priorities for 90 percent, while 87 percent said they wanted to see local performances. 70 percent of respondents said they wanted to interact with locals.
The post-’90s Chinese travelers are also more flexible in their holiday times, as they seek to save money on their vacations by traveling during non-peak times. They will often combine annual leave with national holidays to extend their trips and save money on non-peak flight times. Additionally, their preferred travel window is September through October.
Although many are booking their experiences ahead of time, the platform added that a growing number of these travelers are waiting to confirm their itineraries, with some even waiting until the last minute to decide what to do upon arrival.
Similar to Ctrip.com International’s data from the shopping event, Tuniu reported that most of its younger customers were booking trips for one person, indicating that they might be considered solo travelers. However, Tuniu also added that its solo customers are more interested in joining their friends on trips rather than booking a tour, making the trip less about where they’re heading and more about who they’re going with. It noted that 71 percent of these individual travelers specifically booked trips because it was where their friends were going.
The demographic’s top 10 outbound destinations, according to the survey, are Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Turkey, Egypt, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy, respectively.
Many young independent Chinese travelers are more interested in who they’re traveling with than their choice of destination
Tuniu noted that about 30 percent of its customer base is in the post-’90s demographic, which is a bit lower than competitors Ctrip and Fliggy, but the company said that this consumer group is growing on their platform.
As this Chinese traveler demographic grows, online travel agencies must adapt to their demands, but destinations that want to attract more tourist dollars will need to comply as well. This means catering to an independent traveler and not the group-led tourist.
These travelers are also more likely to want to stay connected while traveling abroad, which will benefit telecom companies that offer traveler packages through mobile payments like Alipay and WeChat Pay. And while they may not need to speak Mandarin, it is important to offer accessible travel guides through WeChat mini-programs or through other social media channels.