Germany gives Chinese tourists digital hand
en.hangzhou.com.cn   2024-06-24 13:25   Source: China Daily

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Germany's tourism authority is tapping the digital field to appeal to Chinese travelers. "China is one of the most promising source markets for inbound tourism to Germany, and few other countries have such a pronounced digital affinity. To continue engaging potential customers effectively, Germany will continue to enhance its digital customer services throughout the entire journey," says Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the German National Tourist Board.

Between May 26 and June 1, the board took a delegation of tourism officials and players on a digital knowledge seeking tour around China to gain insight into the latest developments in the country's travel technology sector.

The delegation included representatives from the cities of Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Cologne and Duesseldorf, along with the airports of Frankfurt and Munich, as well as the Hotel Adlon, porcelain maker Meissen, and luxury shopping outlets.

"This trip seeks to forge new partnerships and strengthen existing relationships between the Chinese and German travel industries. Moving forward, we want to jointly explore cooperation and business opportunities," Hedorfer says.

The German delegation paid visits to multiple digital technology companies in Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang province's Hangzhou and Guangdong province's Shenzhen, including JD.com for advanced automation and artificial intelligence applications, and online travel agency Trip.com Group for digitalized tour services and big data application in tourism. The board also signed a memorandum of understanding with Trip.com to promote tourism in Germany.

"These companies have extensive user bases and access to vast amounts of consumer data, which allows for deep insights into travel behavior and preferences. This data-driven approach enables more effective marketing strategies and the development of travel products that match consumer needs," Hedorfer explains.

Last year, tourism from China to Germany witnessed a dynamic recovery, the tourist board said, and it anticipates a renewed increase in demand from Chinese travelers in 2024 and 2025. "And to meet this demand and develop effective marketing strategies, we need an up-to-date and comprehensive understanding of their digital habits, information-gathering methods, sources of inspiration, and booking behavior," Hedorfer says.

"The dialogue with leading Chinese technology and tourism companies allows us to pick up on consumer trends early on and to stay ahead of the curve, ensuring that Germany continues to market itself successfully in China in the digital age and that it remains the most popular European travel destination for Chinese tourists," she adds.

In recent years, the German National Tourist Board has launched several campaigns in the Chinese market in collaboration with local technology companies.

For instance, in 2018, it partnered with Alipay to stage an online shopping festival and in 2020, it launched an official WeChat mini-program to promote what Germany has to offer.

"To maintain and expand Germany's strong position as a European destination for Chinese travelers, an integral part of our strategy has always been working closely together with our local partners, using social networks in China, and collaborating with leading online portals like Trip.com," Hedorfer says.

In 2023, the tourist board worked with Chinese search engine Baidu, whose ERNIE Bot (Wenxin Yiyan) was trained using a wide range of travel content to provide visitors with a personalized AI assistant for their trip to Germany.

To target potential customers even more effectively, the board has worked closely with its partners on optimizing the entire customer journey, particularly enhancing digital customer services that Chinese guests value, such as mobile payments, Hedorfer says.

Author: Yang Feiyue  Editor: Ye Lijiao