A new survey by Dragon Trail Interactive indicates that the generation of Chinese born 1990-99, the “Post-90s” are more likely than their “elders,” the post-80s to believe that recovery will occur sooner. More than four out of five (82 percent) of post-90s respondents predicted that recovery would arrive in the second quarter of 2020, compared with 75 percent of post-80s.
Dragon Trail, a global research and marketing organization with offices in China, the UK and the United States In early March 2020, Dragon Trail Research conducted a survey of Chinese travelers early last month to gather insight for the travel industry on prospects for the recovery of Chinese tourism, and how the coronavirus crisis may impact Chinese consumers’ intention to travel and travel priorities.
Other Top Takeaways from the Survey:
—Nearly nine out of ten (89 percent) of respondents have canceled or delayed travel plans due to the coronavirus crisis. Half said they would travel when the crisis is over, with 19 percent reporting that they either would not travel or were afraid to travel.
—The post-90s, in addition to being the most the most optimistic demographic segment about when recovery will happen, and likely to travel sooner than older respondents, are also more likely to have more budget to travel after the crisis—making it an important target audience for travel marketers once recovery begins.
—Instead of an explosive rebound during any one holiday period, the survey data leads Dragon Trail’s analysts to believe that we are likely to see several smaller waves of growth for Chinese travel, starting in May at the earliest, with summer holiday months and October subsequent periods.
—The coronavirus pandemic has changed travel priorities, and there is now increased appeal for less populated areas, with high interest in nature tourism, small towns, and self-driving.
—Post-80s and post-70s generations show increased interest in wellness tourism now than before the crisis.
—The crisis has made many respondents closer with their families and prioritize spending leisure and travel time with family in the future—expect family travel to become an even more important form of travel than before the crisis.
—Among the most significant reasons preventing Chinese from traveling in the future are fears about health and safety, as well as lack of money and time due to the crisis. While there is very little that travel brands can do about the latter, apart from major discounts, post-crisis marketing will need to put forth a strong message about health and sanitation to convince travelers it is safe to visit.
When Will Recovery Come?
The majority of respondents believed recovery would occur in second and third quarters of 2020, with 82 percent of respondents predicting that recovery would occur in Q2 at the earliest. More than half of travelers predicted that recovery will occur between May and July at the latest, with June being the biggest recovery month. Close to one-third of survey respondents said that recovery would occur between August and October.
Post-90s. meanwhile, are more likely than post-80s to believe that recovery will occur sooner, with 82 percent of the demographic segment predicting that recovery would arrive in Q2, compared with 75 percent of post-80s.
• When asked about the latest date by which recovery will happen, post-70s and post-90s respondents were both more optimistic than post-80s. Fifty-seven percent of post-70s and 55 percent of post-90s believe that recovery would occur between May and July at the latest, compared to 46 percent of post-80s.
• Respondents who originally had domestic travel plans or no travel plans were more optimistic than travelers with outbound travel plans. There is a similar difference when it comes to predicting the earliest recovery timeframe, with over 80 percent of travelers with domestic or no travel plans predicting that recovery would arrive in Q2, compared with 68 percent travelers with outbound travel plans. At the latest, 54 percent of both of the former groups thought that recovery will come between May and July, compared to 42 percent of respondents with outbound travel plans.
• Looking at the question of the earliest recovery dates, singles and four-person households were more optimistic – over 80% of both groups believed that recovery would arrive in Q2. Four-person households and singles are also more likely than three-person households to believe that recovery will occur as early as April. At the latest, 55 of four-person households believed recovery would occur between May and July, followed by 25 percent predicting an August-October recovery. Significantly more members of four-person households still believed that recovery would arrive in April, compared to respondents from other households.
• Instead of an explosive growth of travelers during holidays such as the Labor Day holiday in May, the survey data, said Dragon Trail, “leads us to believe that we are likely to see several smaller waves of travel.” At the earliest, the first wave of travelers will start in May, with 14 percent of respondents planning travel for May and June. This will be followed by a stronger wave during the summer months, with 26 percent planning to travel again in July and August. Another 15 percent plan to wait until the October National Day holiday. As of the start of March, approximately one-third of respondents had either delayed their travel plans until 2021 or were not planning any travel.
Finally, the coronavirus crisis has been a transformative experience for many Chinese in the way they think about and plan travel. When asked about types of trips they intended to take post-crisis, they demonstrated a high interest in trips that are removed from populated urban areas, such as nature sightseeing and self-driving trips. Relaxation is the top reason to go on a trip post-crisis, followed by experiencing local culture.
(To view the full report, visit https://dragontrail.com/)