23 October 2016
Japan is the top destination of Chinese luxury travelers for shopping. Photo: Reuters
Japan is the top destination of Chinese luxury travelers for shopping. Photo: Reuters

Young, rich Chinese paying top dollar for adventure

They’re young and eager to see the world, and they’ve got the money to spend.

They are China’s Generation Y, those aged between 18 and 36, including a “growing class of second-generation rich kids”.

Hotel operator Marriot International and China’s rich-list compiler the Hurun Report joined hands to study the travel habits of these kids, and here are some of their findings, as contained in a report released on Tuesday:

* China’s young luxury travelers go abroad every three to four months, mainly for leisure;

* They spend 420,000 yuan (US$65,000) on tourism per year and 220,000 yuan (US$34,000) on travel shopping;

* They demand personalized luxury experiences, Wi-Fi, and next-generation guest services, particularly those accessible through their smart devices;

* Japan is the top destination for shopping, France is the most popular destination in Europe and Australia is the top destination for leisure. The United Kingdom is the top destination for visiting friends and family while the United States is important for business travel.

The report shows that when it comes to services and information, China’s young luxury travelers prefer to do it digitally.

Interactive guest services on smart devices are far more popular than traditional guest services, and travelers also expect this smart technology to record and manage their personal preferences.

Tencent’s mobile communication service WeChat emerged as these kids’ primary source of travel information, when through official WeChat accounts or through the accounts of friends and professional travel advisers.

Third-party apps such as C-Trip, Qunar and Tuniu are also import information channels.

In general, awareness of hotel loyalty programs is low among young luxury travelers, who say that many membership programs don’t offer unique or high value benefits.

According to the report,  55 percent of young luxury travelers said they are most likely to travel next year whenever it fits their schedule.

China’s National Day Golden Week is the second most popular period, with 36 percent of the respondents claiming this as their preferred travel period.

It is interesting to note that most Generation Y luxury travelers have either very young kids or no kids, and that only 20 percent are interested in traveling over the summer.

Family travel peaked during the Lunar New Year holidays, with 56 percent of young luxury travelers going abroad last year over this period.

About 90 percent traveled with family or friends, in a party of four people on average, and stayed abroad for 8.5 days.

Although 41 percent of general travelers say that room cleanliness is their top concern when choosing a hotel, 42 percent of young luxury travelers with a household net worth over 100 million yuan cite personalized service as their most important consideration.

In terms of frequent flier programs, 51 percent of the respondents prefer Air China, followed by China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines.

For international travel, Lufthansa is the top choice due to its diverse selection of European routes and convenient transit.

China’s young luxury travelers seek a wider choice of unique and novel travel experiences.

“They are interested in adventure travel, polar exploration and road trips that take them further afield to a wider range of destinations around the globe,” the report said.

In light of these findings, it appears that this group of travelers are not very much excited by loyalty programs, many of which they consider are commonplace and of low value.

Although China’s economy is slowing, the impact on this group’s outbound travel activities appears to have steadily grown, said Hurun Report chairman and chief researcher Rupert Hoogewerf.

“The young luxury travelers has developed significant spending firepower, minted on the back of the recent boom in Chinese entrepreneurship, together with a growing class of second-generation ‘rich kids’,” Hoogewerf said.

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China’s Generation Y travelers seek a wider choice of unique and novel travel experiences. Photo: Greenbuddy

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