Tourists rely on search engines, maps, and other apps to provide quick and precise answers when they are on the go in a new place. Whether it’s getting directions to a hotel while the taxi meter clicks away, finding a good meal when most restaurants have already closed for the night, or taking a look at a local landmark on the way to the train station, tourists don’t have time to sit down and do a lot of extra research once they’ve arrived at their destination. In our last post on this topic, we explored how studying local search behavior can help you reach more tourists during their moments of intent.
Now that Google is testing augmented reality (AR) support for Google Maps, tourists may soon find they’re better able to get around new cities on foot, without all the constant switching between looking down at their phone and then back up at the street ahead. But these navigation tools are only as useful as the information provided to them by the local businesses and other public spaces that traveling consumers are trying to find.
Which is why it’s so important that you ensure the important information about each of your locations (like address, phone number, hours of operation, and product or service offerings) is accurate and consistent across the search engines, maps, apps, voice assistants, and social networks that tourists and other travelers are using to search. You may think you have your bases covered if you’re managing those facts on a handful of the most popular AI-powered services (i.e., Google, Facebook, Bing, and TripAdvisor). But consider that there are many other services you might never even have heard of, but which may be very popular with visitors from cities or countries other than your own.
Chinese tourists demand a sophisticated mobile approach.
Chinese tourists present a unique challenge for businesses operating in other countries. You’re likely aware that Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and The New York Times are not available in China (at least, not without a VPN). You may also know that China has its own set of digital tools like WeChat, Toutiao (news aggregation), and Douyin (short video-sharing).
What many businesses don’t realize is that these digital limits also extend to Chinese tourists when they travel abroad. Google and Facebook are still blocked on Chinese mobile services providers as the owners of those devices travel the globe. This means that Chinese travelers are getting directions from Baidu Map, planning trips using Mafengwo, and looking up shopping and restaurant locations on Dianping — and being served offers on each of these services while they’re at it. So if you are planning a marketing campaign to reach Chinese tourists, preparing a targeted ad campaign on Google AdWords would be a waste of money and effort. Inside or outside of China, many don’t use, and may have never heard of Google.
China is truly AI-first.
The large population of digital natives in China provides enormous amounts of user data for artificial intelligence to learn from — which means it’s likely to evolve even faster than AI elsewhere. As AI gets smarter and provides more personalized answers and recommendations to users, the most effective way to reach motivated consumers is by controlling the facts about your business that populate AI-powered services.
Essentially, if you want to reach international tourists and help them find you during moments of intent, make sure you are maintaining the facts about your business across the many different AI-powered services they may be using.
Want to reach more Chinese tourists? Check out our webinar China for China: Navigating the Chinese Digital Landscape.