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BizReport : Research : September 01, 2009

Nielsen: Majority of Chinese travelers use Internet to plan trips abroad

The latest Nielsen China Outbound Travel Monitor survey found that the Internet is the hub that Chinese travelers turn to when planning their trips abroad.

by Helen Leggatt

china flag.jpgDespite the recession, the Chinese are still making trips abroad. In June this year, Nielsen reported that 85% would "definitely" or "probably" take a trip out of the country in the coming year.

In their latest survey Nielsen found that the majority of Chinese travelers turn to the Internet to search for destination websites ahead of their leisure trips.

However, after choosing a destination, nearly half (48%) of China's outbound travelers turned to online reviews and forums to fine-tune their itineraries, found the survey. They converse via social networks and message boards with others who have made a similar trip or live in the country they are to visit.

"Word of mouth is the major factor for travelers when picking airline tickets or hotels," said Nan Nan, marketing manager for travel search engine "For them, strangers are more reliable than advertisements."

That said, online advertising is more effective than advertising in traditional mediums such as radio, television and print. The Nielsen survey found that travelers were much more likely to recall Internet advertising for travel destinations compared to travel advertising on other mediums. Almost 70% of respondents remembered seeing travel ads on the Internet.

"With these results showing that the largest proportion of China's outbound travelers - both business and leisure - use the Internet as a pre-trip information tool, it makes sense that marketers should leverage that usage to increase the visibility of their own products and deals," said PATA director Strategic Intelligence Centre John Koldowski.

Tags: forums, online reviews, online travel, online travel booking, social networks, word of mouth

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