Chinese Research Travel Using Social Networking Sites

On the Gulliver blog, a business travel blog on The Economist, it was reported that mainland Chinese "are the most inclined to use social-networking sites to research business travel, and the third-most likely to do so for leisure travel."  The blog entitled 'Traveling with a little help from friends' used data from a survey conducted by Travelport.  Travelport describes itself as "a broad-based business services company and a leading provider of critical transaction processing solutions to companies operating in the global travel industry."

In short, most Americans rarely consider using a social networking site like Facebook, My Space, or Linked In to plan a business trip.  However, in Travelport's survey of 12 countries, in addition to the Chinese, Indians and residents of Hong Kong also use social-networking sites to research business travel.  The author of this Gulliver blog referred to another survey that found "about 20% of Chinese tourists look for travel reviews on social-networking sites . . . ."  The author also noted that yet another survey "suggested that as many as six out of ten read web-based travel forums."

These surveys illustrate a significant buying habit of the typical Chinese consumer; Chinese consumers are willing to spend time conducting significant research for a bargain.  The author of this particular Gulliver blog pointed out, correctly in my opinion, the motivation - "[a]part from being increasingly web-savvy, Chinese consumers are also notoriously price sensitive."  Therefore, Chinese consumers are simply looking for a good deal.

With a population over 1 billion and the number of internet users exceeding the entire population of the United States of America, it is no wonder the travel industry is watching very carefully the travel habits of the Chinese. Nevertheless, foreign competitors still lag behind their domestic counterparts in capturing market share.  Perhaps as competition for the Chinese traveler increases, the benefits of the competition will spread to all travelers in lower prices.