Tourism Update – March 2019
China Market Update: Douyin, Ctrip & Luxury FAM
In conjunction with Chinese New Year, SMTT and its digital agency, Hylink, created a video featuring Hylink’s American and Chinese team members wishing followers a happy Lunar New Year. The video was filmed in different neighborhoods throughout Santa Monica and was released via SMTT’s new Douyin account.
Douyin is a short-video app that enables users to add music and effects to their videos in order to make them creative and engaging. Douyin is one of the fastest growing social media platforms in China and globally. There are currently over 300 million active monthly users; 45% of these users live in Tier 1 and 2 cities.
As the first destination marketing organization in the United States to launch a Douyin account, SMTT is excited to tap into the marketing potential of this new platform. Moving forward, we will be posting four videos a month on Douyin. This will complement our existing digital efforts on WeChat and Weibo, two of China’s most widely used social media apps.
As part of its on-going efforts in the China market, SMTT worked Ctrip to launch a Santa Monica campaign in fall of 2018. Ctrip is the largest online tour operator in Asia and the second largest in the world. SMTT’s Ctrip campaign ran from October 24th through December 4th and generated 9.2 million impressions and 492 room nights for our destination. This represents a 105% YOY increase in Ctrip room production.
Campaign tactics included online banners, electronic digital media and WeChat posts via Ctrip’s digital and social channels. These tactics drove traffic to a dedicated landing page with a listing of Santa Monica’s hotels and an overview of the key attractions in our eight neighborhoods.
This marks SMTT’s second campaign with Ctrip. Moving forward, we will continue to look at opportunities to work with key OTAs (online travel agency), airline and trade partners in China to further raise the profile of our destination.
LATCB & United Airlines Luxury FAM
In partnership with Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (LATCB) and United Airlines, SMTT hosted a group of China’s leading luxury travel agencies for a day FAM on March 3rd. The participants included senior directors and owners from agencies such as CYTS Sparkle Tour, named top 5 best travel agency by Condé Nast Traveler, and HH Travel, the top luxury travel brand of Ctrip. FAM activities included a breakfast and site inspection at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, a Segway LA tour of the Pier/Ocean Ave and Montana Ave neighborhoods, and a lunch at the Huntley’s Penthouse.
While group tours are still popular among Chinese travelers, especially in the second, third and fourth tier cities, alternatives such as customized tours, private tours or booking a local guide through a tourism platform have become a new choice for Chinese tourists. Semi self-guided and high-end package tours are also on the rise as mature travelers demand customized and flexible travel experiences. Based on intel from Brand USA, FIT travel from China also continues grow, increasing by 10-20% each year.
That said, SMTT received strong interest from the FAM participants, some of whom are already selling our hotels, to include more Santa Monica experiences in their itineraries. SMTT will be working with these partners and LATCB to include our beach city in more Chinese luxury product offerings.
How to Work with SMTT
Want to improve your tourism business? Santa Monica Travel & Tourism can assist to increase your tourism revenues through a number of marketing, advertising (Official Visitors Guide, Official Map) public relations and sales opportunities.
For more information, please find contacts for each department below or visit Santa Monica Travel & Tourism’s Business Opportunities page.
Marketing & Interactive:
Kim Sidoriak, Chief Marketing Officer
Public & Community Relations:
Lauren Salisbury, Public Relations Manager
Visit santamonica.com/partnership-opportunities for more information