22nd September 2023 – (Hong Kong) The upcoming Golden Week holiday presents a valuable opportunity for Hong Kong’s tourism sector. As the first extended holiday since border reopening, this 8-day break is set to attract over 1 million mainland visitors – 70% of pre-pandemic levels. Strategically leveraging this influx can catalyse broader revival for Hong Kong’s battered tourism industry.

Recent data spotlights the immense potential of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) market. The GBA’s 86 million population and economic output rivaling 11% of China’s GDP offers a vast catchment at Hong Kong’s doorstep. During this year’s 5-day Golden Week, over 600,000 visitors arrived from mainland China, accounting for 63% of pre-pandemic traffic. McKinsey research shows GBA tourists spend an average of RMB36,400 in Hong Kong, demonstrating this region’s enormous promise.

Fully unlocking these opportunities requires dedicated efforts by Hong Kong’s tourism sector, especially in engaging Chinese travellers through targeted digital means. The question is: how can local brands effectively tap Mainland tourists?

Launching KOL Campaigns on Xiaohongshu and Douyin

Xiaohongshu’s user-driven approach makes it ideal for inspiring Chinese travelers. KOLs and bloggers share first-hand experiences, itineraries, tips and hacks, fostering engagement and bringing destinations to life. This content sways travel decisions, as seen by a Hong Kong bank branch becoming an unlikely hotspot after going viral among mainland Xiaohongshu users.

EternityX helped Ocean Park boost awareness and become a top-of-mind GBA destination via Xiaohongshu and Douyin KOL campaigns. Selecting the right influencers was crucial. EternityX chose KOLs across engagement tiers based on fanbase, content style and more. These KOLs highlighted park “strategies” to maximize enjoyment. For unfamiliar tourists, such user-generated “hacks” are invaluable. Mainlanders find this content fascinating, elevating awareness and interest.

The campaign succeeded, with KOL posts featured as recommended travel vlogs on Xiaohongshu and ranking top 5 for park-related Douyin searches. This demonstrates KOL marketing’s immense power. For Hong Kong travel brands hoping to tap mainland tourists, KOL campaigns on these platforms are highly worthwhile.

Omnichannel Marketing Across the Travel Journey

The travel decision-making journey has four key stages: Dreaming, Pre-Trip, In-Trip and Post-Trip. Effective destination marketing requires tailored omnichannel strategies to boost online presence throughout.

In the Dreaming phase, the goal is igniting interest by sparking travel desire. Digital content helps audiences visualize experiences, establishing the brand as exciting. SEM and KOL promotion on major Chinese platforms are ideal here.

Pre-Trip is when bookings are made. Boosting engagement and anticipation now shortens the consideration cycle. Partnering with Chinese OTAs provides data on traveling consumers to refine targeting.

In-Trip aims to boost on-site conversions. Retargeting audiences via native ads, banners and app pushes on travel apps and platforms they use ensures messages reach tourists.

Post-Trip focuses on brand loyalty and community. KOLs share experiences, photos and reviews, fostering advocacy and repeat visits. Their wide reach also attracts new Dreaming-phase customers.

Incorporating programmatic buying across all stages allows precision targeting based on data-driven audience insights. The right message can be delivered to the right tourist at the optimal moment.

Private Domain Ecosystems to Enhance Experiences

Private domain marketing is popular in China as consumers demand improved digital experiences. Hong Kong travel brands should create WeChat Mini Programs targeting high-spending mainland tourists. These interactively showcase brands while driving conversions.

WeChat’s 1.3 billion MAUs and Mini Programs’ anticipated 2025 user base of 764 million make it invaluable for personalization, loyalty programs and CRM. The data gleaned creates superior experiences that win over mainland travelers.

In summary, Chinese platforms are integral to travel decision journeys. All sectors must craft sound China social strategies tailored to mainland travelers’ needs. Given the complex landscape, selecting suitable platforms to achieve goals is crucial. And brands should engage tourists at every touchpoint with relevant content to maximize exposure and conversion.

Leveraging Golden Week requires forward thinking and creativity. Yet the long-term payoffs for Hong Kong’s tourism ecosystem make this a priority. With strategic preparation, the holiday can spark a broader revival, catalysing growth that endures beyond the immediate festivities. The possibilities are boundless if Hong Kong’s tourism industry can tap the enormous China market just across the border.