A just-published piece in Jing Travel tells tour operators who organize tours of the city for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) the four things most important to China’s luxury travelers. Excerpted here, the short list is based on conversations with operators who have experience with packaging NYC product for Chinese HNWI travelers.
(“VIP luxury shoppers are regularly invited to stores’ grand openings in China, [so] when they travel abroad, they expect a similar ‘rolling out the red carpet’ kind of experience,”—Serena Huang, founder of YOLO luxury travel, a New York-based boutique travel agency.)
The List of Four Most Important “Do’s” follows:
- Provide Fodder for their WeChat: Even affluent Chinese travelers like to get a bargain. But in New York City, shopping is often less of a priority because only American brands such as Kate Spade and Tory Burchare cheaper than they can find them elsewhere. Instead, what attracts them most is the experience of shopping in an exclusively NYC style that will impress their friends on WeChat. To accomplish this, they prefer to interact with local people as much as possible. High-end retail stores such as Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.
- Personal Shopping Assistants: In order to maximize their time in New York, they expect to shop with the help of a personal assistant and a mandarin-speaking translator. A good personal shopper can intuit a client’s style immediately, and knows the equivalent sizing across different brands, making the experience seamlessly efficient. They are also knowledgeable about local fashion trends, and can offer an expert eye on some more sophisticated luxury goods that travelers won’t come across in China.
- Chances for Career and Social Advancement: According to Serena Huang, founder of YOLO luxury travel, a NYC-based boutique travel agency, Chinese women usually shop for themselves and family, whereas men like to buy business gifts. This different shopping preference reflects the type of events they wish to attend in store. In partnership with a third party, usually a financial institution like Morgan Stanley or Wells Fargo, tour operators often collaborate with luxury retailers to host networking events. They bring high-net-worth clients from China, mostly men interested in making career connections with New York-based professionals. In such settings, the store and the goods displayed function as an ice-breaker, and an
- Secret Spots: For younger affluent Chinese travelers, itineraries are influenced by media and KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). They like to visit independent stores around Soho and art galleries in Chelsea during the day, and sip cocktails in a speakeasy in the East Village at night. Local, hidden gems excite them.
One tour operator told Jimg, for example, that they will take clients to a secret lingerie museum inside the Victoria’s Secret store on Fifth Avenue, which opened in May this year. Its latest exhibit features a $3 million angels’ bra, Gigi Hadid’s bodysuit, and Stella Maxwell’s crystal-encrusted one-piece from last year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Paris. A lingerie expert will also introduce the fashion show’s history and host a pajama party, where she offers tips on wearing bras the correct way. Other experiences on young travelers’ bucket list include Tiffany’s newly opened Blue Box Cafe, which offers them a chance to channel their inner Audrey Hepburn.