Capture-Rapture & Chinese Tourists

Marketers of Technology Products and Services can Help Travelers Get More Out of Vacations
(A version of this editorial was first published in Ad Age China)
China’s leisure industry is a spontaneous dance of sounds, anticipation, restlessness, sensations, human heat and intense togetherness, good and bad.

The whole country seems to feel an overwhelming desire to see, capture and carry as much as possible. They want to touch, see, touch again and see it again and most importantly, see it through the lens of a camera.

The experience is all about capturing everything in sight with as many mega pixels as possible. And sightseeing is like a race against time, and innumerable fellow travelers.

Desire to capture the evidence of being in a place can even surpass the desire to experience the place itself.
So while the Chinese travelers are busy capturing they can sometimes lose on the moments and experience part. Add to this the fact that if they are unable to organize what they capture – they can even miss on these memories.

The relative inexperience of the Chinese leisure traveler is a reflection of China’s stage of development, and it offers fertile ground for marketers.

There are various ways to helping these Chinese travelers. And marketers of technology products can especially play an important role in this.

Film and camera companies can help Chinese tourists, many of whom are first-time owners of high-end digital cameras, find better ways of organizing travel pictures. Photographs can be brought to life in more ways than just sprinkling them on a blog, e-mailing them as large files or dumping them in some obscure corner of the hard drive,
For example, PC and Television companies can inspire the users through easy to use though music-layered slide shows on that can be viewed on large flat-screen TV sets. Right now only Apple comes close to providing this kind of inspiration.

Mobile phone companies and wireless carriers could offer more ways to use location-based services by developing and marketing applications that help people learn more about the temple in front of them or the myth about a lake they are walking past.

Even non- technology brands have many opportunities. Brands related to travel, travel accessories and hospitality could play a more important role here. So could brands that help people better understand the places and artifacts that so far they have only been clicking and carrying home in the flash memory of a newly acquired digital camera.

Automakers can help those traveling by car discover unknown attractions on the way to the hotel.

For those less savvy with technology, marketers could bundle promotional materials such as city guides with tourism accessories like North Face backpacks or camera lenses.

Advertisers have experimented with these ideas in western countries but in China, most remain unknown — even though the mainland has become a massive market for domestic tourism.

A moment between shooting those shadows

A moment between shooting those shadows