A new study conducted by Hilton shows that a majority of Chinese believe the pandemic has contributed to a travel memory deficit. As a result, they are already looking ahead to their next trip, hoping to create new travel memories. Of those surveyed, 91% of travelers say they plan to travel again once the travel restrictions ease and they can travel with peace of mind, while 46% say they will travel even more than before.
“Travel is an unstoppable force and we know consumers are eager to reconnect with people and places they love,” said Wendy Huang, Senior Vice President and Commercial Director, Hilton Greater China and Mongolia.
According to data from Trip.com, the Chinese tourism sector has witnessed a significant recovery during the recent October golden week National Day holiday, with hotel occupancies rebounding to approximately 80% of pre-epidemic levels. Hilton’s research reaffirms Chinese demand and enthusiasm for travel, indicating the growing optimism for the domestic travel market.
The survey was conducted by Hilton across 20 major cities in China. Among its findings is the travel memory deficit people are feeling, due, in part, to missed opportunities for special moments with loved ones, While this remains at the forefront of consumers’ minds, a pent-up demand for travel is bubbling over: 60% of those who plan to travel again say they will stop putting off special trips they have always wanted to take and more than two-thirds (68%) of those looking to travel again will explore places they have never been to before.
Further insights into the mindset of the current Chinese consumer around travel were revealed through the survey:
• Travel has a special place in people’s hearts: According to the survey, 85% of travelers say travel memories are some of the happiest of their lives. They recalled travel memories (35%) more than any other happy memory, including those of special occasions (23%) and personal achievements (14%).
• Travel memories hold a great significance: 86% of travelers surveyed believe that travel memories played an important role in shaping their personalities. Travel memories also top the list of happiest childhood memories (40%), more than recollections of holiday celebrations (22%) or family traditions (9%).
• Travel is deeply missed: 84% of Chinese travelers claim that missed travel opportunities due to the epidemic has denied them the possibilities to create new travel memories. Furthermore, 91% also say they feel they are deprived of the opportunity to create new travel memories they would have otherwise generated through their experiences interacting with different communities, cultures and ideas.
• Recreating stories together is the key reason for their travel: 64% of consumers say that they would cite creating new moments with their friends, family and partners as their top reason for planning travel, followed by 49% who want to relax and 43% who are keen on discovering new cultures and cuisines. Meanwhile, being in nature remains a huge draw for travel among the Chinese, especially for those who are parents (53%) and Gen X travelers (56%).
• A number of Chinese also travel for new inspirations: New ideas (24%) and lifelong memories (29%) were listed among the top gains from travel.
• Chinese are keen to reconnect in their relationships through travel: A staggering 95% of respondents believe China is facing a travel opportunity deficit. Nearly a third (30%) consider travel as a great occasion for special moments with their loved ones while 28% think it is a good way for families to relieve the increased levels of stress.
• Chinese travelers have Increased desire to travel in a responsible manner: The survey shows that many travelers value the impact they have on local communities, as 88% of them support buying local products and dining at local restaurants. A majority of travelers (88%) also consider their impact to the environment when they travel, especially Gen Z travelers (90%).
In a bid to inspire people to create new memories and reconnect with their loved ones, Hilton had launched a new global marketing campaign: “To New Memories”. The campaign launched in China two months ago, and it centered on a series of reconnection moments consumers have been missing out on as a result of not being able to travel. The campaign debuted on top social media platform WeChat, television commercials and digital media sites through collaborations with top titles including “Condé Nast Traveler” and “GQ.”