Following a year of comprehensive research to deepen the understanding of Chinese consumers, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has launched a new Chinese website and debuts today, a page on Sina-Weibo; the first Mandarin language social media channel for the luxury brand.
These major digital channel launches underline the commitment of The Ritz-Carlton to one of its largest growing markets, and a continued focus on the digital space.
In the quest to further engage current and aspiring customers in China, The Ritz-Carlton will launch a Chinese mobile site by year-end, and there are plans to double the inventory of Ritz-Carlton hotels in China from eight to 16, within the next three years.
Social media has emerged as a powerful communications tool in China, and Sina-Weibo as a leading micro-blogging website; one of the most popular sites in China.
Over 30 per cent of Internet users subscribe to the social media channel which was launched in August 2009, and currently has more than 500 million registered users posting 100 million messages each day.
Sina-Weibo allows The Ritz-Carlton to effectively customize content in-language, to be regionally and culturally relevant, and to showcase, educate and discuss luxury travel and the global world of Ritz-Carlton in the 80 destinations in which they have a presence.
The Ritz-Carlton Sina-Weibo Page
Two sets of research were conducted, each taking six months.
The first was a study was an online pathways project to understand how affluent Chinese consumers felt about tour digital presence, and that of our competitors.
The second piece of research focused on website designs, content structure, website navigation, digital assets, photographs, page layouts and social conversation.
“To thrive in China, a brand needs to go beyond the data and immerse itself in the culture to develop relevant marketing in-market.
“That is what The Ritz-Carlton has done and so far our efforts have struck a powerful chord. The research process in China not only helped us to understand the needs of a Chinese consumer in the digital space, but also the way in which they have come to know The Ritz-Carlton.
“We learned how our brand can best enhance a luxury experience for the people of China, both at home and as they travel around the world” said Ed French, chief sales & marketing officer, The Ritz-Carlton.
“Contrary to popular belief, research revealed that not everything needs to be done in the colour red to garner attention and appreciation.
“Chinese consumers respond well to the colour blue, which they associate with immortality and wisdom.
“The shade of blue used in The Ritz-Carlton Chinese website and Sina-Weibo page was chosen for its richness and is sampled from the blue found in Chinese porcelain,” added French.
“Another significant finding of the research was the high level of customer’s appreciation for The Ritz-Carlton traditions, history and heritage.
“There was great desire for our digital channels to reflect that tradition, while also demonstrating that we understand the online preferences in China, and that we are speaking to the audience in a way that is culturally relevant.”