Hylink CEO Delivers Keynote at NIRC's 2016 Digital Tourism Forum


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Hylink’s founder and CEO, Su Tong, had the special opportunity to present at the National Image Research Center’s “2016 Digital Tourism –China Tourist Destinations and National Image Forum” as its keynote speaker. The event was held last week at the Meng Minwei Concert Hall at Tsinghua University in Beijing. One of the main aims of The National Image Research Center is to improve China’s national image by providing leading edge and effective communication strategies in facets of tourism.

Industry leaders including the Secretary General of China Internet Development Foundation (CIDF), head of the National Image Research Center at Tsinghua University, and heads of BaiduWeibo, Google China, Facebook China and Twitter China, attended the forum, providing insights on Chinese tourism trends, the decision-making process regarding tourism consumption and "internet (digital) + tourism."

Liu Binjie, Dean of the School of Journalism and Communications at Tsinghua University, was unable to attend the forum and therefore asked Deputy Dean of the School of Journalism and Communication of Tsinghua University, Chen Changfeng, to fill his place. In her opening statement, Chen explained how we can utilize scientific and professional big data platforms to embrace the “new normal” of internet + tourism, and highlighted tourism market demand and tourism trends in the digital era. 

Qin Changgui, Secretary General of CIDF opened the forum ceremony. He said that the development of social economy and internet technology have led to tremendous changes in how people go about and think about traveling.

Our founder and CEO, Su Tong, delivered a keynote speech entitled “Digital Travel”. Su drew attention to the great development of digital and mobile applications and how they have exerted great influence on tourists’ consumption habits and decision-making processes. For tourist destinations, it’s necessary to take a close look at tourism consumers’ psychographics and word-of-mouth in the current digital media landscape in order to build a good public image.

During the forum, Baidu released a new study on consumers’ decision-making path. Hou Libin, vice director of Baidu Institute of Marketing gave a speech on Baidu’s role in connecting tourist destinations with consumers’ decision-making. Hou said Baidu has witnessed tourism-consumer behaviors change tremendously – e.g. from search on internet to search on mobile. The study shows that search, vertical and social have a great impact on tourism consumers’ decision-making process. Number of website visits and visit times are pretty diversified among consumers. The shortest decision-making cycle is only 18 minutes.

Liu Qi, General Manager of Weibo’s Lifestyle and Travel Division gave a speech on tourism marketing in this mobile and social era. He talked about the characteristics of tourism consumption and how to best leverage Weibo to market tourism destinations. He also shared several tourism marketing case studies that utilize Weibo.

Lin Yuzhen, Vice President of Sales at Google China gave a speech entitled “Google Inbound Tourism Integrated Marketing and Data Analysis – Opportunities and Challenges of China’s Tourism Globalization”. The speech highlighted both opportunities and challenges of China’s tourism globalization initiative from the perspective of Google’s technological development. Lin said Google has become far more than a search engine service, specializing in precise content sharing and spreading.

Together, Yu Yihui, Tourism General Manager at Facebook China, and Jieying Lun, head of Can Create China, gave a speech entitled “Facebook - Discover the Beauty of China”. They informed the audience that 42 percent of Facebook posts are related to tourism. They also advised the audience on future tourism marketing strategies – those specifically leaning toward mobile, people-oriented precision marketing, search marketing and social discovery.

Business Director of Twitter China, Alan Lan, shared his insights based on his own travel experience. In his speech, he said the advent of social media has changed the way people live, work and travel. He also noted that brands could secure higher conversion rates by leveraging social interactions among highly active users on social media sites. In addition, short business trips are generating important business opportunities for brands.

After the special guest speeches, the forum released six rankings showcasing consumers’ word-of-mouth and degree of attention for various consumption areas:

Rankings of China’s Tourist Attractions by Digital Assets 

Rankings of China’s Tourism Cities by Digital Assets                   

Top 10 Most Followed Tourism Countries     

Top 10 Best Rated Chinese Airlines                                                                              

Top 10 Best Rated International Airlines, Rankings of Chinese High-End Chain Hotels by Digital Asset  

Backed by Baidu’s NLP and internet web-crawler technologies, the forum released rankings based on big data collected from baidu.com, travel websites such as qyer.com and mafengwo.cn, as well as on search volume, UGC and PGC weighted data calculation for the categories.  

It’s clear that the advent of internet and digital media has streamlined tourism consumers’ decision-making and content sharing process, giving rise to a chain of reactions and changes in the industry. However, changes come with both opportunities and challenges confronted by the internet and tourism industry. The forum provided valuable ideas for solutions to these difficulties and challenges confronted by the industry by looking at travel and tourism from a digital perspective.

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