2013 White Paper on Travellers - The Rise of Social Travel

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Home > Archives 2013 >
2013 White Paper on Travellers - The Rise of Social Travel
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 00:00



CIC and GroupM China Portray Five Types of Travellers
among Chinese Netizens

2013 White Paper on Travellers - The Rise of Social Travel ” 





September 11, 2013, Shanghai - CIC and GroupM China released today their “2013 White Paper on Travellers - The Rise of Social Travel”. This white paper collects and analyzes the information related to social media, dividing travellers into five different groups among Chinese Netizens, aiming to help brand marketers develop more effective and targeted marketing strategies.

Chinese tourism revenue is expected to reach 2,900 billion RMB by 2013, representing a 120% increase over five years (data source: China National Tourism Administration). Its rapid development has established ‘travel’ as an important indication of lifestyle, and as such, has become one of the hottest topics on mainstream social media.

Pioneering social business intelligence company CIC and GroupM Knowledge, the think tank of GroupM, have collaborated once again to develop this white paper. Based on the intelligence obtained from 29.6 million travel related posts or articles, and sampling around 11,230  travellers, this white paper maps out  five types of travellers active on social media - business travellers, self-drive travellers, package tourists, luxury shopping travellers and backpackers, and has identified  their unique  attitudes to travel and different consumption behaviours.



Hotel and transportation are the hottest topics for business travellers. Budget and mid-scale hotels received more buzz than luxurious and upscale hotels from business travellers and they discuss more about hotel services and location. As to transportation, inflight meals and flight punctuality are two important factors when they choose a flight. Brands should make these practical considerations as part of their communications strategy and avoiding claims that they cannot deliver.

As car enthusiasts, self-drive travellers are interested in discussing the joy of driving, car maintenance, and car rental services. They prefer to get automobile related information from automobile dealers. The research suggests that making friends, freedom and family are key motivations behind the discussions of these travellers. Therefore, in their communications strategies for self-drive travellers, brands should focus on their passion for freedom and family happiness.

Package tourists are more willing to share information on travel agencies and their honeymoon experience. The success of the movie, "Lost in Thailand", helped make Thailand this year’s hottest travel destination after Hong Kong. Travel agencies could launch corresponding travel itineraries to attract consumers. Brands should combine their brand attributes with current trends in order to deepen their impression and broaden impact.

Luxury shopping travellers like to show off their luxury purchases on social media. Leather goods and ready-to-wear are the most buzzed categories. They gain overseas shopping information from Taobao and social shopping websites. The Weibo accounts of professional overseas buyers play a big role in their information gathering and purchasing. Luxury shopping travellers favor innovative and trendsetting brands. Limited editions and unique designs are very effective methods to stimulate purchase.

Backpackers are the most passionate group to share their travel experiences and feelings on social websites. They like to experience the local lifestyle of their travel destination, and are interested in culture and nature; Yunnan and Hunan are the top two most popular destinations based on social buzz. Outdoor equipment and cameras are also hot topics. To backpackers, they will never stop exploring the world and freedom will always be their ultimate goal. A brand culture that is big on “exploration” and “freedom” resonates well with this group and stimulates purchase.



Connie Leung, Senior Vice President - Consulting Business & Marketing at CIC, said, "Social media has had great influence on the rapid growth of the tourism market in recent years: on one hand, people obtain travel related information through search sites, BBS and social platforms; on the other hand, the travel journals and other useful information they share on social media will further influence other netizens in making travel arrangements and consumption choices, directly or indirectly. Collecting and analyzing the data related to social media could help us better understand the market and recommend effective strategies to brand marketers.”

Eve Lo, Chief Knowledge Officer, GroupM China said, "Holidaymakers embrace the joy and opportunity offered by travel, and are open to new experiences, providing a great opportunity for brands to offer engagement. Brand marketers must understand the consumers’ passion points and provide a unique experience.”



More suggestions to brand marketers:


  • Service oriented mobile brand strategy
    Hotels and airlines can leverage Wechat as the foundation of a customer relationship management system with personalized functional support.  Naturally, brands generate positive Internet word of mouth by providing good user experience.

  • Use professional overseas buyers to endorse brands
    Brands can leverage fashionistas’ recommendations to provide more fashion focused information to netizens and also leverage professional overseas buyers as shopping guides to influence netizens’ purchase process.

  • Popular movies are effective venues for brand placement
    “Product placement” in popular movies is clearly a good way to showcase travel destinations, judged by the positive buzz generated by “Lost in Thailand”. In China, comedies and all-star casts often generate both higher box office revenue and online discussion. As such, National Tourism Administrations may consider cooperation with popular movies in showcasing beautiful scenery and their destinations’ unique cultural attributes to attract inbound tourists. 


About GroupM China


GroupM is WPP’s consolidated media investment management operation, serving as the parent company to agencies including Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, Mindshare and Xaxis.

GroupM is the global leading media investment management group.

GroupM invests in more than 560 markets across China, with total media billings in excess of USD 5.11 billion (RECMA: 2011 Definitive). As China’s number one media communications group, GroupM is the industry’s biggest investor in syndicated and proprietary media research and optimization tool development.


About GroupM Knowledge


GroupM Knowledge is GroupM’s think tank and knowledge management arm in China. This unit is responsible for industry-wide thought leadership research to benefit our agencies and client brands, exploring issues affecting the media industry in China, working with syndicated research suppliers and managing the Group’s proprietary tools, research and systems. GroupM Knowledge also manages a media consultancy, advising clients with specific media research challenges. The unit aims to be the knowledge platform, linking brands with relevant consumer and communication insights.

Media Contact:


Diana Wang

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

+86 21 2307 7703




About CIC


CIC is China's pioneering social business intelligence company. CIC enables businesses to fully leverage the power of social media and Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) intelligence across the organization. Since coining the term IWOM in 2004, CIC has pioneered the industry to help companies meet their social media marketing and social business needs by providing customized research, consulting services,  as well as technical solutions , all from an objective, third party perspective. In addition to helping companies leverage social media intelligence for more informed decisions, CIC is monetizing the social business industry in China by creating an integrated social business support system.


CIC utilizes its own patent pending technology to capture millions of online conversations and ‘makes sense of the buzz’ by assembling them into easy to understand intelligence and provides interpretation which informs strategic decisions and leads to action. CIC gathers and mines over 100 million naturally occurring consumer comments every month from a range of uniquely Chinese social media platforms including blogs, BBS and social network sites and applies its unique, China-derived methodology and indexes to provide a detailed and comprehensive picture of the social media landscape and its implications for business. CIC has well over 3.8 billion mentions of brands and products from well over 1 billion consumer comments that have been indexed and archived.


In early 2012, as China’s pioneering social business intelligence company, CIC consented to acquisition by WPP’s Kantar Media, the media research and insight division of Kantar, expanding their social offering across Asia Pacific markets. (Press release)


CIC will continue to provide social business intelligence from an unbiased, third-party perspective, to the world’s leading brands and agencies.


Learn more about CIC, click here: www.ciccorporate.com


Media Contact:


Charles Huang
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
+86–21-64049191 ext 8803

 For full version of the white paper, please click here.



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