China Part 1: The Growing Importance of FITs

18
Nov
2014

China Part 1: The Growing Importance of FITs

China Part 1: The Growing Importance of FITs
Ever since attending World Travel Market's 'Spotlight on China' seminars, at Rhubarb Fool our minds have been buzzing with all things Chinese: social media, language, MICE, FITs, Students...so we thought we'd do a small series of posts on the all-important Chinese market. 'What', you may be asking 'exactly is a FIT?' Well, FIT stands for Foreign Independent Travel or Foreign Individual Travel – essentially, individuals or groups of less than 10 travelling internationally without the assistance of a tour operator. Why are we talking about them here? Because FITs are becoming big business, and their growing significance means that the landscape of tourism marketing is changing slightly, but perceptibly. As they're travelling independently, FITs aren't reliant on travel agents' and tour operators' set itineraries or recommendations. They plan their trips alone, which means that they research their trips alone, and they seek this information online. Where else? This brings us back to a point we've hammered out several times in this blog...the importance of having an online presence of China. FITs can't incorporate your attraction into their itinerary or stay in your hotel if you simply aren't there. Internet word of mouth is so important in China that prospective visitors will undoubtedly be checking in with your social media pages to see what other consumers are saying about you. They're also guaranteed to run your business through Baidu or another Chinese social network to try and visit your site. Trust is very important to Chinese people, so making the extra effort to host a .cn domain for your site will go a long way. Also, 9 times out of 10, they prefer to read content in their own language. There is no point in half-measures when it comes to appealing to the Chinese market – but going the distance will yield results. Just think, FITs represent a whole new consumer base that is growing exponentially (especially as more and more Chinese people get online and become more mobile), and without cultivating an online presence in China (even a small one), you're missing out on a huge chunk of the market.
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