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15th December marked the beginning of a month-long global campaign run by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Thai Hotels Association (THA) to encourage tourists to return to the area following the floods that ravaged parts of the country from July to December.  Most three and four star hotels that are members of the THA are expected to take part, where they will offer ‘buy one get one free’ deals on normal room rates from 15th December until 15th January 2012.  This should encourage many tourists to hurry back to the country at a time which is normally high season.

The organisation will be promoting the offer worldwide from their 26 offices, but will focus on countries close-by such as Hong Kong, Singapore and China, and hope that the campaign will boost tourism by up to 30%.  This estimation will assist in the huge losses that hotels experienced during the floods which took away more than an estimated 400,000 tourists from the country.  TAT reported that although almost all tourist destinations were not directly affected, visitors may still avoid travelling to Thailand and they have estimated a drop of around 300,000 people.

TAT organised a “mega-familiarisation” trip which brought around 500 travel agents and media representatives from all over the globe to Thailand, and will be adding further marketing activities in January and March to increase visitor figures again.  TAT are confident that by the end of March 2012, the sector will have fully recovered and hope that this marketing campaign will help them on their way.

A beach in Phuket, south Thailand


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Dr. Adam Wu, chief operating officer of China Business Network, attended last week’s Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica, visiting a region where the Chinese government has already made several substantial direct investments and plans more.

Wu said Chinese tend to travel in groups and like to sightsee and visit multiple destinations. He offered some the following tips to those seeking to cater to the Chinese market:

• Convey your message in Chinese. While 60 million Chinese earn an annual income over 20,000 USD, only 10 million people can speak English.

• It’s best to market online (incorporate your site onto World Travel Online). Most Chinese travel professionals depend on the Internet to research and book travel. Plus, there are more Internet users in China (457 million) than the U.S. has in total population (311 million).

• The Chinese population doesn’t generally have access to the Internet accessed by the rest of the world, so marketers need to use the China Wide Web, the country’s own Internet.

• Marketers need to educate Chinese operators on (unfamiliar to them) local brands.

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China outbound tweeds

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Michael Kaltenhauser

Founder and director of Astronaut, a marketing agency based in Beijing which is specialized on promoting destinations to Chinese outbound tourists

Laura Hine

Online Communications Assistant at Astronaut