Health Excellence: Presenting Berlin as a Centre of Medical Excellence in Beijing and Shanghai.

In global terms, the Chinese travel market is the key source market of the future, and it continues to expand at a rapid pace. Thanks to many years of market experience in China, visitBerlin is very well positioned there. In 2016, the share of overnight stays for visitors from China grew by 9.1% 

In May, together with the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) office in Beijing, we invited key travel industry decision-makers to day events showcasing health tourism and sport in Berlin. For these events, we took the special setting of leading golf clubs in Beijing and Shanghai, offering our guests a varied programme of golfing, presentations on Berlin, lunch and opportunities to network. The topics of health tourism and sport were also successfully linked with content from BERLIN 365/24 and Going Local. The guests at the events all received an extensive Berlin information pack in Chinese, including the Berlin Medical Tourism Guide.

At the China International Medical Tourism Fair (CMTF), presently the largest medical tourism fair in China, we joined forces with the Vivantes Hospital Group to represent the German capital as a medical tourism destination. In addition to promoting Berlin, we could network and gain important insights into the market. In addition to our presence at the fair, we organised a Berlin Medical Travel Lunch specifically for B2B contacts.

In June, in cooperation with DB Bahn, we held training workshops in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen, presenting the Travelsky booking tool to travel agencies and their staff. 

Our marketing activities for 2016 ended with Berlin Christmas events in luxury hotels in Hangzhou and Xiamen. These infotainment events for the travel industry focused on the secondary cities that are growing in importance for Chinese outbound tourism. The event was well received with guests enthusiastic about a programme including Berlin presentations, the Berlin Runaraound, an interactive game with prizes, a raffle and a buffet dinner with live music. An accompanying press event showcased the BERLIN 365/24 campaign for 20 journalists. We were also invited to a reception at the German Consulate to mark German Unity Day, when the spotlight was very much on Berlin.

A press trip that we organised to Berlin specifically on medical tourism generated articles on the city in five major Chinese newspapers, including the People’s Daily, Xinhua News and Zhongxin News.

visitBerlin is also reacting to the growing importance of social media channels such as Wechat and Weibo in changing travel behaviour, from locating information and planning trips to exchanging travel experience and making the final bookings. In 2016, we commissioned a Shanghai agency to implement an extensive package of social media activities, generating around 67,000 followers and 8.3 million clicks on posts about Berlin.

Promoting Meetings and Congresses in Berlin

Increased marketing activities in the Chinese market in 2016

visitBerlin also took the opportunity offered by the China Incentive Travel & Conventions (IT & CM) fair, held from 6–8 April in Shanghai, to effectively place Berlin in the Chinese travel trade press, with interviews with TTG China, M&C China and Meetings China generating extensive press coverage. After visiting the fair, the focus was on sales calls organised jointly with the Berlin partner TAO Incoming GmbH. 

From 20–23 September, as part of a cooperation with the GCB German Convention Bureau and the Representative Office, a roadshow was held in Beijing and Shanghai presenting Berlin along with other destinations in Germany. Since personal contacts to customers also play a major role in the Chinese markets, the roadshows provided an excellent opportunity to expand and intensify such contacts. Our comprehensive approach to customer relations in the Chinese market in 2016 was rounded off with active public relations via WeChat, regular newsletters and familiarisation trips, as well as a series of sales calls by our Beijing Representative Office.