CHINA. Flag-following sightseers, loud groups packed on tour buses and lavish shoppers with little interest in a brand’s culture — these have long been the stereotypes of Chinese travellers, according to Jing Daily.

But as the Chinese tourism industry and Chinese consumers mature, an increasing number of wealthy, Chinese jet-setters are looking for customised travel experiences. Jing Daily explores this trend in an article focused on how choice matters for Chinese luxury travellers.

These high-end travellers aren’t just looking for extravagant accommodation and food. Instead, they hope to get to know local cultures and lifestyles through authentic experiences.

Appealing to a niche demographic in the Chinese luxury tourism market, even when the trips are not shopping-oriented, they tend to increase sales of luxury goods.

Customisation is the new gold standard for Chinese luxury travel

According to Hurun’s Chinese Luxury Traveller 2017 report, luxury travel agencies are flourishing in China. More than half of high-end travellers said they had already used customised traveller services. This report echoes some big data-driven conclusions by the China Tourism Academy and Tuniu, a Nanjing-based travel site: as the disposable income of Chinese consumers grows, so does the demand for high-quality, customised tours.

Appealling to a niche demographic in the Chinese luxury tourism market, the tours often provide a boost to luxury goods sales even if they are not shopping-oriented

As early as late 2016, Tuniu saw a +66% increase in its sales of customised travel. In contrast, when similar services were offered four years ago, few were willing to give it a try.

For example, Beijing-based luxury travel agency Luxtrip has tapped into this market by providing high-end Chinese jet-setters with “theme travel” products. They range from increasingly popular adventure travel that features outdoor sporting, parenting education trips welcomed by many wealthy Chinese parents, global business trips that value efficiency, to trips that focus on luxury shopping.

It should be noted that customised luxury trips do not just mean extravagant spending. Luxtrip CEO Yang Ning said in an interview with Jing Daily: “High-end is the surface. Personalised is the key.” While luxurious experiences like taking a Gulfstream G650 or going on an extravagant health and beauty tour are often an essential and exciting element, individual-tailored services are what set customised travel apart from ordinary luxury trips.

For example, Luxtrip offers one fashion shopping tour that takes travellers to Milan, Italy, where they attend three fashion shows and visit the famous Instituto Marangoni. Other available travel tours include fashion shows in Paris or private meetings with the world-famous Japanese wedding dress designer Yumi Katsura.

Customised trips often unexpectedly boost luxury sales   

These trips appeal to a niche demographic in the booming Chinese luxury tourism market. Even when they are not shopping-oriented, customised tours often have the effect of boosting sales of luxury goods.

Chinese luxury travellers reportedly enjoy purchasing cosmetics (45%), local produce (43%), bags and suitcases (39%), clothes and accessories (37%), and jewellery (34%) while on holiday.

Chinese travellers have also demonstrated growing willingness and curiosity to learn more about the stories behind luxury brands and products.

*This article was originally published by the much-respected JING DAILY, a Moodie Davitt Report content partner.