Chinese tourists from the major, first tier cities are no longer the only ones taking holidays abroad. Many destinations are now targeting Chinese visitors from second and third tier cities which dramatically increases the potential number of visitors. This is fuelled by rising disposable incomes.The opening of direct flights from these lower tier, smaller Chinese cities makes it easier for them to go abroad. In-fact, in 2016, China boasted 180 million tourists.It is important for regions and destinations to work on their online reputation because the Chinese extensively research on the internet before making any trip, they base their decisions on what they find online in the hyper-digital culture of modern China.
Lyon set out to become a famous destination for Chinese travellers..
With it’s close proximity to Paris, fair climate, natural scenery and heritage architecture, Lyon is arguably one of finest cities in France. They saw China as a huge opportunity and wanted to tap into the growing number of visitors to France.The problem was Lyon was simply not on the map for Chinese travellers. Online itineraries are hugely popular and Lyon was not featured on these. The Chinese traveller would typically see Paris, Bordeux and the South of France presented to them as attractive destinations in forums, websites and on social media.
Lyon was almost invisible as a destination online in China. Our task.. To raise the levels of awareness and the reputation of Lyon as an attractive destination for the Chinese tourist.
‘Only Lyon’ Company Aims:
• To strengthen the competiveness and reputation of this French city.
• To bring people to this destination. Only Lyon’s team used different strategies, including press relations, digital marketing and ambassador networks.
• To attract investors and travellers from Mainland China.
Social Media Management
e-Influence on Chinese Travel Forums
The key to this campaign was generating positive reviews of Lyon in targeted communities of Chinese travellers.It was vital to develop a strong WeChat presence, to target travel groups and use China’s largest social network as a platform to share quality content about Leon.Weibo was also key for building reputation and visibility. We were very active in creating and sharing quality content and starting conversations about visiting Lyon from Chinese tourists themselves. ‘Only Lyon’s’ Weibo account became one of the top 3 most influential French accounts in China.Only Lyon had +400% followers by the end of the campaign with levels of engagement increasing by 80% on WeChat and Weibo.
We created great Chinese content about Lyon. Some of these were news articles and others traveller reviews of their experiences in the city. Lyon was presented as a luxury destination with quality images and stories.Content was well received with 25 000 responses in forums and on social media.We created Chinese travel itineraries for trips in France, adding a one night stop-over in Lyon after staying in Paris.
Chinese Travel Forums
Chinese travel forums are vital for building the reputation of a destination. We started conversation threads with reviews, comments and opinions about Lyon. In travel forums such as Douban and Tianya, Lyon became the third most popular topic trending at the time. Users starting posting images of their trips to Lyon as the campaign developed which further promoted user interaction.
How did we do?
This campaign is an example of how you can literally change travelling trends by building the reputation and visibility of a destination in the most effective way on the Chinese internet.Lyon increased their number of Chinese visitors by a whopping 75%. Chinese social media and forums were full of positive discussions and recommendations for traveling to Lyon.The company’s Weibo account was in the top 3 most influential French accounts whilst Lyon was the 3rd biggest trending topic on Douban and the 4th most popular on Tianya.
A better visibility and a bigger fan base.. The company became one of the top 3 most influential French Weibo accounts..