Monday, September 16, 2013
Last week, after over a year of extensive research on the buying patterns, motivators, and social values of Chinese consumers, Ritz-Carlton hotelier has launched a new Chinese website and has a page on Sina Weibo, the first Mandarin language social media channel. Later this year, Ritz-Carlton plans also to launch a Chinese mobile site.
Ed French, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, The Ritz-Carlton, explains:
“To thrive in China, a brand needs to go beyond the data and immerse itself in the culture to develop relevant marketing. The research process in China not only helped us to understand the needs of a Chinese consumer in the digital space, but also the way in which they have come to know The Ritz-Carlton. It also helped us to make subtle changes to design that would resonate. We learned that the color blue is associated with immortality and wisdom, and so the shade of blue used was chosen for its richness and is sampled from the blue found in Chinese porcelain,” added French. “Another significant finding of the research was the high level of customer’s appreciation for The Ritz-Carlton traditions, history, and heritage. There was great desire for our digital channels to reflect that tradition, while also demonstrating that we understand the online preferences in China, and that we are speaking to the audience in a way that is culturally relevant.”
To reach this level of understanding. Ritz-Carlton company conducted two sets of research, each a six-month process.
- The first study was an online pathways project to understand how affluent Chinese consumers felt about Ritz-Carlton digital presence, and that of its competitors.
- The second study focused on website designs, content structure, website navigation, digital assets, photographs, page layouts, and social conversation.
Why is China Important to Ritz-Carlton and to the Hospitality Industry as a Whole
For Ritz-Carlton, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriott International, China is already one its largest growing markets. In response to this, the company will double its inventory of Ritz-Carlton hotels in China to a total of 16 over the next three years.
- According to projections by China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, China will become the world’s largest outbound tourist market, with a projected 90 million people expected to travel overseas in 2013 alone.
- Chinese tourists have surpassed Americans and Germans in terms of expenditures, spending a record-breaking US $102 billion last year.
- According to the Bain & Company’s 2012 Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, global luxury sales were estimated to reach US $278 billion in 2012, up by 10% year-over-year, of which, luxury goods sales in China were projected to reach almost US $20 billion in 2012. It is estimated that overseas consumption of luxury goods accounted for around 60% of the total Chinese luxury spending in 2012.
Social media is a powerful communication tool in China. Sina Weibo is a leading micro-blogging website and is one of the most popular social media websites in China, with more than 30 percent of China’s web users (some 500 million registered users) subscribing to Sina Weibo. Using Sina Weibo, Ritz-Carlton can essentially customize content into many of the dialects of China, making it regionally and culturally relevant.
Read Ritz-Carlton’s full media release here:
- Legendary Luxury Hotel Company Takes China by Digital Storm with Launch of Chinese Website and Presence on Sina Weibo
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