As the new-generation of Asian travellers are much more tech-savvy and knowledgeable, travel agencies and hotels have to find new ways to provide a full brand experience to their consumers.
WeChat offers the global tourism industry a real opportunity to establish connections with them without necessarily having a physical presence in the country.
Let’s see 10 strategies than can be used to develop your business on WeChat.
1. SMART HOTEL ROOM
Since 2014, WeChat enables interaction with connected hardware via its public accounts, which offers a new way for the hospitality industry to introduce the concept of Internet of Things and enhance visitors’ experience. Ceasars Enterainement partnered up recently with WeChat to enable visitors to control their hotel room via WeChat at The LINQ Hotel & Casino.
The experience goes as such:
- Download the latest version of the WeChat app
- Once in your hotel room, scan a room-specific QR code
- Follow the specific instructions
This new tech turns the WeChat app into a remote that allows visitors to control all of their room’s functions, including control lightning, thermostats and curtains, lock doors, and much more!
2. CHECK-IN SERVICE
China Southern Airline launched its in-house developed WeChat mobile check-in service to let passengers avoid the check-in service at the airport.
Passengers have to follow the China Southern Airlines account on WeChat (ID: CS95539) in order to access the check-in service. They will receive a welcome message followed by instructions. Passengers have to reply to the message in order to choose their preferred seats and check-in directly on the app. They will then get an electronic boarding pass that is printable at the self-service check-in counters at the airport.
3. “MY TRIPS” & FLIGHT STATUS FUNCTION
Hong Kong Airlines (香港航空公司) has recently integrated some new functions within its WeChat official account in order to provide a better user experience to its travellers.
“My Trips” is a very new function that enables travellers to access all their trips information, like a cloud wallet with trip itinerary and details, including their orders, boarding pass, and following flights.
Travellers can also check their flight status directly on the Hong Kong Airlines WeChat account, which is much easier than going on the Internet to find the information.
4. PRICE COMPARATOR FUNCTION
Shangri-La Hotels are currently offering a price comparator function on their WeChat Account (WeChatID: Shangri-lahotels) to enable it customers to find the best deal for their trip.
Here is how it works:
- Select your destination (continent, country and city)
- Choose your hotel
- Enter your check-in and check-out dates and number of guests/rooms
Then the hotel price comparison search engine will automatically show you the best deals for the selected hotel
5. THIRD-PARTY INTEGRATION
Marriott has integrated Daoda, the Chinese Official website of TripAdvisor, to enable its visitors to access global traveller reviews on Marriott International’s hotels and restaurants, which will help consumers to better plan their trip.
Visitors have to follow Marriott Rewards’ WeChat account (WeChatID: marriottgroup) to get into the mini-site and access Daodao content, classified by cities. Visitors can also search for nearby attractions, as well as write their own reviews directly on Marriott Rewards’ WeChat account. The review will then automatically be posted on Daodao.
6. CUSTOMER SERVICE
Air France has been the first non-Chinese airline to reply to its customers on WeChat. The service is available 7/7, 8:00-19:00 on weekdays, 9:00-18:00 on Saturdays & Sundays, regardless the location of the customer.
Customers can therefore send queries ranging from seat selection and ticket rebooking to reservation cancellations and excess baggage. The company will try to do it utmost to replay to demands within one hour and come up with a solution within 24 hours. In addition, the chat service is available both in Chinese and English, which is quite convenient for non-Chinese speakers.
7. LOYALTY PROGRAM
IHG (Intercontinental Hotel Group), the world’s largest hospitality group and owner of Holliday In, Crown Plaza and many other renowned hotel brands, has fully understood the value of WeChat as a powerful tool to promote its loyalty program.
The hotel group launched a WeChat service account to engage with members of its IHG Priority Club loyalty program. Members only need to log in to check their point balance, book hotels, manage reservations, and access to exclusive offers.
8. ONLINE BOOKING SERVICE
WeChat is constantly adding new m-commerce features to make travel-booking process easy and comfortable for Chinese travellers.
The Chinese travel booking site Elong (ID: elongguanfang) is now providing a full service for users to book their trip, including hotels, train and flights right on the app.
Thus, with the WeChat payment feature, it is even more convenient for users to transact directly through the booking app. Users then get a QR code which can be used as a ticket or boarding pass. Besides, Elong also enable its users to check flight status, access customer support services.
9. LOCATION-BASED SERVICE (LBS)
Hyatt hotels are using the LBS function to provide a better user experience to its visitors. Customers can find the nearest hotels based on their current location. They only have to share their location by message and the nearest hotels will automatically be “pushed” to them.
Moreover, this feature helps to increase the traffic of new or less-known hotels from the Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
10. FLASH SALES
Ctrip is an online travel agency that provides booking services for all kinds of travelling (WeChatID: helloctrip). The company offers daily promotions (at 10 AM and 3PM), which can be anything from flight discounts to free stay at hotels. This strategy allows Ctrip to attract a huge amount of new followers every day that represents a massive database for future marketing campaigns.