ESTONIA. Tallink Group has started a series of activations for the Lunar New Year period designed to enhance spending from its increasingly important Chinese passenger profile.

The Baltic Sea short-cruise and ferry operator – with retail and restaurant sales topping €500 million a year – has partnered with online and mobile payment platform Alipay for the first time for a Chinese New Year promotion.

Lumene and other branded products favoured by the Chinese have been placed in prominently-positioned units

The activation offers a -20% discount on all products in the Nordic-C range of brightening products from Finnish beauty house Lumene, currently a hot brand with Chinese travellers in the region.

Tallink Duty Free Head of Sales Ave Makke told The Moodie Davitt Report: “The Nordic-C line is very popular among our Asian customers in general and results from this promotion, which started just ten days ago, confirm this.”

Ave Makke: “We have set a target and we can already see growth versus last year.”

The tie-up with Alipay ensures that the activation is also promoted in the payment platform’s widely-used application, which according to the Chinese company now has one billion users. All Alipay users who travel with Tallink and pay with the Alipay service can participate.

Other promotions are running simultaneously for Chinese New Year. Tallink’s traditional Red Envelope campaign – where travellers get an 8% discount on their final shop receipt on 11 Tallink and Silja Line ships – began on 19 January and will end on 16 February. The campaign is now in its fifth year.

Alipay is also running its own promotion exclusively on Tallink Silja routes. The ‘800-40’ campaign gives Alipay customers an immediate cashback (via the app) of CNY40 (US$5.77) on purchases of more than CNY800 (US$115.40) in one receipt. To participate, Alipay users need to scan the QR code on campaign materials in order to collect coupons before payment.

The ‘lucky draw’ promotion from Alipay is part of a wider campaign strategy for Tallink over Lunar New Year

Alipay’s global ‘lucky draw’ campaign – with a prize of CNY5,000 (US$721) – is also being widely promoted on Tallink Group vessels. Participation requires the use of Alipay outside China after having first scanned the campaign QR code.

Cosmetics set for biggest gains

These multiple promotions are expected to reap the biggest rewards in beauty which has been a focus for the duty free department. “Definitely cosmetics are the most popular (with the Chinese) and in the past year we have given a lot of attention to this category,” said Makke. “New bestsellers and brands include serums and face care items from Lancôme, Lumene’s Nordic-C line, La Mer as a new brand, Jo Malone, and Tom Ford makeup.

Beauty brands, and new higher-end lines, have been a focus for Tallink Duty Free. Shown above is Lumene’s Nordic-C range.

Other focused brands this Lunar New Year are local Nordic fashion and design houses such as Marimekko, Iitala, Arabia and Muurla, plus local chocolate brands like Fazer, Kalev and Marabou.

Special tables and gondolas with Chinese-targeted products and greetings in their own language are strategically placed across all ships in the fleet.

Tallink did not divulge its sales expectation over the Lunar New Year period but Makke said: “We have set a target and we can already see growth versus last year.”

According to Tallink, the number of Chinese travellers on its ships has doubled in the first three weeks of January versus the same period in 2019. The peak period for this important travelling shopper starts now in the Baltic, and numbers could rise further.

In recent years Tallink has stepped up its service to its Chinese guests and it now has Chinese-speaking hosts in its key stores onboard six Tallink and Silja ships. The company has also introduced translation devices for shop staff so they can communicate better with Asian customers.