Visitor attractions from around the Leeds City Region took part in the second Visit Leeds China Forum educational workshop at the Carriageworks on Thursday 14 November.
Representatives from Oulton Hall, Harewood House and Temple Newsam were present at the workshop which aimed to equip attendees with the cultural knowledge and language skills they need to engage confidently with Chinese businesses.
Marketing to Chinese visitors
Leeds Chinese Tourism Ambassador Will Zhuang shared his advice about marketing to China.
He emphasised the size of the Chinese market and suggested that the latest Visit Britain figures underestimate the number of Chinese tourists coming to the North of England. Regardless of the number of visitors, Chinese tourists spend three times as much as those from other countries, making them an attractive target audience.
Yorkshire received 7% of visitor nights spent outside London from 2015-17 and Will is confident that if we work together this number will increase. A coordinated effort from visitor attractions and hotels in Leeds will see room nights here increase more quickly and hopefully get closer to the numbers achieved by hotels in York, which is the UK city ranked 6th based on room nights booked through the Chinese travel platform ctrip.com.
At the top of the York rankings on Ctrip is the Grand Hotel and Spa in York, which saw a 30% increase in room nights from 2017-2018.
Will emphasised the importance of flexibility when dealing with Chinese tour groups, highlighting Scott’s Fish and Chips as an excellent example of this. This fish and chip restaurant in York also embraced Will’s other top tip of promoting your business through Chinese social media. Will shared tips about managing contacts on WeChat and using groups to push out messages, like he did with tour groups to promote Scott’s.
Watch our video Improving the customer experience for Chinese visitors to learn more about what the Grand Hotel and Spa and Scott’s Fish and Chips have done with the support of Will Zhuang to attract and welcome Chinese customers.
Making new business contacts in Chinese
In the language section of the workshop BCI tutor Jianan Meng led participants through a dialogue that covered the words and phrases they would need to introduce themselves in Chinese and exchange contact details.
This included exchanging business cards in the correct way and learning how to add a contact in WeChat.
Visit the China Forum page on our website to download the handout from this session.
Participants left the session with a better understanding of the Chinese visitor market and a toolkit of phrases for the next time they meet a Chinese business contact. Small details like speaking a little bit of Chinese and confidently navigating the WeChat app can all help to create an excellent impression!