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5 tips to target the travelling consumer this CNY

In 2016, the Chinese New Year (also called the Lunar New Year) falls on Monday, February 8 and ushers in the year of the Fire Monkey, said to bring strength and determination.

In order to advertise to travellers interested in planning a trip over the Lunar New Year, you’re going to need a similar strength and determination in your marketing plans—along with a pinch of big data.  To that end, we here at Sojern analysed more than a billion traveller intent data points and pulled out the five things marketers need to know about Chinese New Year travellers, as well as ways to turn those data points into lessons learned for next year:

  1. Understand your travellers’ intentions

A key to running any sophisticated digital travel campaign is understanding the intentions of your travellers – specifically where and when they want to travel, how they will travel, and what they would like to do after arriving at a destination.

Once you understand this, it’s crucial to use it. Understanding how travel intent differs by market is important, and for Chinese New Year it’s even more so as differences in traveller behaviour is accentuated during this period.

Further, if you can’t identify the tensions of your audience, you’re pretty much running blind because you run the risk of talking to a large number of people about travel services and products that aren’t relevant to them. With travellers intentions guiding when you talk to them and about what, you can ensure you’re providing relevant and valuable advertising.

For example, through travel intent data, we can identify that the top destination for Hong Kong travellers over Chinese New Year is Singapore.

While this knowledge alone is particularly powerful, what is even more so is then selecting to talk only to those Hong Kong travellers who are showing interest, if your product revolves around Singapore. If you have a product that is relevant to Taiwan or Japan, then you can reach out and advertise to those who are showing interest there, rather than to Singapore.

  1. Timing is everything: Uncover when travel intent begins

Talk to your prospective travellers when they start looking for your product is key. In our Q3 2015 Global Insights Report, we examined traveller intent for the Lunar New Year.

Looking at the main countries observing the holiday combined, 7% of bookings and 17% of research were already made by October 2015. Further, Taiwan has been well ahead of travel planning with 12% of flights booked and 40% of research completed by the same time.

Data such as this reveals the importance of knowing and speaking to travellers in each origin market differently, and at different times. For instance, targeting Taiwanese travellers at the same time with the same information as others in the region will always be too late for one group and too soon for the other.

  1. Know the top destinations

The top destinations for travellers from countries that observe the Lunar New Year are Japan, Thailand, and China. We also analysed the top destinations for seven Asia Pacific countries and found everyone’s prefered New Year spot.

But, what conclusions can be drawn from this data and how can it transform your marketing campaign? For one, in general, around Lunar New Year, travellers from Asia Pacific prefer regional destinations. Combine this data with specific regional information for deeper insights—for instance, a lot of Singaporeans travel to Malaysia immediately after the first day of the New Year to visit extended family.

Knowing that visiting family around the region drives travel behaviour forms an important insight to drive an effective campaign.

  1. Determine the duration of stay

Travellers are looking to really extend their Lunar New Year trips.

For example, on February 5 almost 80% of travellers are looking to plan a 4-10 day trip. Quick, 0-1 day trips, aren’t quite as popular at the same time, falling below 10% of queries.The extended duration is probably connected to the fact that the holiday falls on a Monday and, therefore, travellers are looking to take an extended weekend.

Knowing that travellers are looking for longer trips, means creating marketing campaigns that do the same. It also means that these bookings should be of higher value and an opportunity to take advantage of. Finally, it’s important to start looking ahead and plan accordingly—2017’s Lunar New Year falls on a Saturday. The timing of longer trips will differ from what we see this year. like we’re seeing this year, might not be the next trend, so neither would marketing campaigns supporting them.

  1. Not all trips are created equal: Understand why people are traveling

Pulling all of this data and local knowledge together can produce some interesting and useful insights, such as why people are traveling.For example: These aren’t business travellers. Since most countries that observe the Lunar New Year have public holidays celebrating it, most people looking for travel over this weekend are not doing so for business purposes.

Campaigns, deals, and other marketing materials should not, then, have the business traveller as the target during this time period.

Many travel to see their families. As mentioned, the Lunar New Year is a family holiday, and given the history of Asia-Pacific, people are likely to have family all over. Using this information to produce campaigns targeted to specific regions and with unique family-oriented angles can be highly effective.

Some people are just trying to get away. While there are many for whom the Lunar New Year is a big family holiday, for others it’s not and is rather an opportunity to get away on a vacation thanks to the long weekend.

Travellers, then, will be looking to avoid big, loud celebrations (like those in Hong Kong), preferring the tranquility of Japan, for instance. Consider campaigns that inspire quiet wanderlust for the non-celebrators.

Smart marketers not only know their markets, but also treat them as unique and distinct groups, collecting whatever data they can—from email lists, and Facebook groups to programmatic travel platforms. Most importantly is the collection of travel intent data.

But, working with media partners to access the data is only the first step of the process. That data needs to serve as a catalyst for action, otherwise you’ll be constantly plagued with the question, “So what?”

So, get ready for the productivity that’s supposed to come with the year of the Rooster in 2017. This means not only collecting the necessary travel intent data to create effective campaigns, but transforming it into smart, targeted campaigns where you’re always talking to the right travellers, at the right time, with the right message.

The article is written by Stewart Hunter, director for Sojern Asia Pacific.

(Photo courtesy: Shutterstock)

Read also:

Infographic: What are consumers doing on Facebook this CNY
Lunar New Year special: Favourite CNY campaigns
Infographic: What do consumers love talking about during Chinese New Year?


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