How to attract customers during Chinese New Year

09 February, 2018 by
Szelee Lai

The spring festival (春节 chun jie), also known as Chinese New Year, is the biggest and most important celebration in Chinese communities. It represents the first day of the new lunar calendar and traditionally lasts for 15 days. This year, Chinese New Year begins on 16 February.

166,900 Chinese travellers arrived in Australia in January 2017, and a further 143,400 arrived in February 2017 (Tourism 2017) to enjoy Chinese New Year. That’s 45.1 per cent growth compared to 2016 arrival statistics for January and February 2016.

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So how many Chinese arrivals is Australia expecting for Chinese New Year 2018? If we base it on last year’s numbers, approximately 244,000.

That’s a lot of potential covers walking past your door over the coming weeks. It’s a pretty daunting market to get to grips with, so here are five tips to get you started on your first Chinese marketing plan.

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Provide Chinese content about your restaurant

It’s very important to have your restaurant’s information in Chinese. Even though more and more Chinese can communicate using basic English, many will still lack confidence and fully understand your English copy. Traditionally, Chinese people will like to fully understand a restaurant offering before making a decision to sit down or walk on by. Once you’ve got your information translated and presented correctly, Chinese will share their experience across Chinese social media and travel platforms, meaning a small investment today might just attract new incremental diners for a long time to come.

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Translate your menus into Chinese

Food menus of today can be rather complicated. Fancy words and abbreviations are enough to make locals wonder what’s being served up. Many ingredients are not commonly used in Asian and Chinese cuisine. Therefore, for many Chinese visitors, it is often a case of fingers crossed the dishes are what they think they will be. Therefore, we recommend you translate your menus into Chinese and make a point to recommend your top dishes and drinks. The easier it is for Chinese customers to understand your offering, the more chances you will have of landing more covers and revenue per head.

Be present on Chinese restaurant review platforms

Just like every diner and traveller, Chinese visitors love to read the opinions and reviews of others to help them with their decision-making. Platforms like dianping.com and ctrip.com are very powerful and well established in China. By setting up your information on these platforms, your restaurant brand will also benefit from improved SEO in Baidu — the Chinese equivalent of Google. Chinese tourists prefer to go to the local restaurants which have high ratings and reviews, so you make sure your restaurant is on these lists.

Be present on Chinese travel platforms

Manfengwo, Qyer and Qunar are just some of the popular travel platforms Chinese travellers use to capture their travel experiences. These platforms are very much like blogs, but have recently started offering restaurant recommendations, too. It’s important to make sure your restaurant is being included on the platforms and your offering is being delivered accurately to attract these culinary travellers.

Create Chinese social media accounts

Like Facebook and Twitter, different Chinese Social Media platforms require unique strategies. WeChat is a bit like Facebook Pages and WhatsApp rolled into one, plus a mobile wallet solution for good measure. It’s a super app and has more than 900 million users. Weibo is a lot like Twitter and more than 350 million people interact with each other to share information about restaurants, so it’s very important you are part of the noise.

Image credit: The Sun