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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Holiday Booking Process market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

What you need to know

Along with the robust growth of China holiday market is that travellers are more mature on holiday planning and booking. The majority of consumers are confident to take main responsibility on holiday booking, and are confident about their financial condition and reluctant on relying on financial tools such as instalment plans. Their confidence on booking is also reflected by likelihood to book earlier compared with 2016, especially on accommodations, suggesting that accommodation establishments could try to expand their business and play a more vital role in holiday planning.

About this report

This Report provides an overview of Chinese consumers’ holiday booking process, including their role in booking, booking method, online booking timing and offline booking behaviour. It also covers consumers’ payment preference and attitudes towards holiday planning.

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel defines tourism is any travel, which involves an overnight stay away from home. A holiday is a form of tourism, as defined by the tourist in response to Mintel’s survey.

Definition of domestic and outbound holidays:

  • Domestic holidays refer to holidays within Mainland China
  • Outbound/overseas holidays refer to holidays outside Mainland China, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan

Definition of short-haul and long-haul holidays:

  • Long-haul holidays refer to overnight trips of more than 3 nights made for leisure purposes
  • Short-haul holidays refer to trips less than or equal to 3 nights and day trips made for leisure purposes


  • Travel for the purpose of visiting friends and family, business or other purposes are excluded
  • Shopping during holidays is excluded for holiday market value

Consumer Question Topics

  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know
  • Role of Booking
  • Booking Method
  • Online Booking Timing
  • Offline Booking
  • Payment Preference
  • Holiday Planning
  • Meet the Mintropolitans

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Yihe Huang, a leading analyst in the Travel sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Chinese travellers are increasingly mature on holiday planning and booking – most of them take main responsibility and book increasingly early. To deal with such changes, official selling channels need to know them better and promote early, accommodations could seek for playing a more important role in the whole holiday experience and offline channels could borrow concepts from ‘new retail’. Yihe Huang
Research Analyst


What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this report
        • Excluded
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Companies and brands
                • The consumer
                  • Confident to take main responsibility
                    • Figure 1: Holiday booking and planning role, March 2018
                  • Online booking is now mainstream, and younger generations are exploring new ways of booking
                    • Figure 2: Holiday booking channels (net), March 2018
                  • Travellers are booking holidays earlier
                    • Figure 3: Average days before departure, March 2018
                  • Convenience is one of key drivers making consumers book in offline channels
                    • Figure 4: Travel products bought offline, March 2018
                    • Figure 5: Reason for booking offline, March 2018
                  • Confident to have plenty of saving to travel anytime
                    • Figure 6: Payment preference and method, March 2018
                  • Most travellers think holiday planning is a vital part of travelling
                    • Figure 7: Attitudes and behaviour of holiday booking, March 2018
                  • What we think
                  • Issues and Insights

                    • Official selling channels compete but also collaborate with booking agencies
                      • The facts
                        • The implications
                          • Reach traveller early but never overlook impulsive holidays
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Accommodations offer beyond stays
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • What could ‘back to offline’ strategy learn from ‘new retail’ concept
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • An expanding market driven by high willingness to spend on holidays
                                            • Market Background

                                              • The market volume is still growing at a two-digit growth rate
                                                • Figure 8: Holiday market volume, China, 2013-17
                                              • Consumers show positive spending willingness
                                                • Figure 9: Best- and worst-case forecast for consumer expenditure in holidays, at current prices, 2012-22
                                                • Figure 10: Claimed spending changes in holidays, 2016-18
                                              • Domestic holidays are the most popular holiday type
                                                • Figure 11: China holiday market segment share, 2016
                                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                              • Market players expand their business to seek alternative revenue drivers
                                                • Emotional connections are becoming more important to marketing activities
                                                • Competitive Strategies

                                                  • Traditional travel agencies are making attempts to expand their portfolio
                                                    • Domestic attractions are attempting to reduce or eliminate entrance fees
                                                      • Online travel booking websites are revolutionising holiday products with their familiarity of travel technology
                                                      • Innovation Highlights

                                                        • Share experience via short videos
                                                          • Making holidays a continuous life pursuit
                                                            • Communicate travellers’ responsibilities towards destinations
                                                              • Talk with me, not talk to me
                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                • Marketing and advertising efforts should focus on consumers born in 80s and mid-to-high household income
                                                                  • Group purchase websites are increasing in popularity as online booking channels
                                                                    • Accommodations are booked the first
                                                                      • Travellers who book offline pay attention to convenience
                                                                        • Have enough savings to travel anytime
                                                                          • More consumers have determined destinations before travelling, but there are still slight differences among various consumer segmentations
                                                                          • Role of Booking

                                                                            • More than half of respondents claim to take main responsibility for booking travel
                                                                              • Figure 12: Holiday booking and planning role, March 2018
                                                                            • Consumers born in the 80s and those with higher household income level are more likely to take main responsibility
                                                                              • Figure 13: Holiday booking and planning role, by age, March 2018
                                                                              • Figure 14: Holiday booking and planning role, by income level, March 2018
                                                                            • Who are more likely to take main responsibilities?
                                                                              • Figure 15: Key target group – CHAID analysis, domestic travel, March 2018
                                                                              • Figure 16: Key target group – CHAID analysis, outbound travel, March 2018
                                                                          • Booking Method

                                                                            • The fast-growing group purchase websites as purchasing channels
                                                                              • Figure 17: Domestic travel booking channel, March 2018
                                                                              • Figure 18: Outbound travel booking channel, March 2018
                                                                            • Younger generations are willing to embrace new ways of holiday booking
                                                                              • Figure 19: Domestic travel booking channel, by age group, March 2018
                                                                            • Booking smart but don’t scarify experience
                                                                              • Figure 20: Attitude towards holiday booking, pricing and spending, March 2018
                                                                          • Online Booking Timing

                                                                            • Consumers are booking accommodations first
                                                                              • Figure 21: Average days before departure, March 2018
                                                                              • Figure 22: Average booking days before departure, by age, March 2018
                                                                              • Figure 23: Average booking days before departure, by household income, March 2018
                                                                              • Figure 24: Average booking days before departure, by city tier, March 2018
                                                                            • A trend of booking earlier
                                                                              • Figure 25: Average domestic booking lead days, June 2016 vs June 2018
                                                                              • Figure 26: Average outbound booking lead days, June 2016 vs June 2018
                                                                            • Preference to plan in advance and prepare completely
                                                                              • Figure 27: Payment preference, product purchase, March 2018
                                                                              • Figure 28: Payment preference, product purchase, by booking responsibility, March 2018
                                                                          • Offline Booking

                                                                            • Package tours are the most popular products booked offline
                                                                              • Figure 29: Products bought offline, March 2018
                                                                            • Convenience is the key attribute travellers pay attention to
                                                                              • Figure 30: Reason for booking offline, March 2018
                                                                          • Payment Preference

                                                                            • Travel is an accessible leisure activity to most consumers
                                                                              • Figure 31: Payment preference, payment method, March 2018
                                                                              • Figure 32: Payment preference, payment method, by booking role, March 2018
                                                                            • Travel financial tools may increase penetration among younger generations, especially females
                                                                              • Figure 33: Payment preference, payment method, by age, March 2018
                                                                              • Figure 34: Payment preference, payment method, by gender, March 2018
                                                                          • Holiday Planning

                                                                            • Consumers prefer to plan, less inclined to respond to flash deals
                                                                              • Figure 35: Attitudes towards holiday booking, booking behaviour, March 2018
                                                                            • Family/friend and KOLs are vital influencers
                                                                              • Figure 36: Attitudes towards holiday booking, acquiring destination, March 2018
                                                                            • Consumer segmentation: four out of ten respondents have determined destinations ahead of booking
                                                                              • Figure 37: Travel booking consumer segmentation, March 2018
                                                                            • Destination-driven travellers
                                                                              • Initial-driven travellers
                                                                                • Channel-driven travellers
                                                                                • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                                  • Confident to take main responsibility, and more likely to book through online channels
                                                                                    • Figure 38: Holiday booking and planning role, by consumer classification, March 2018
                                                                                    • Figure 39: Domestic and outbound holiday booking channel, March 2018
                                                                                  • Plan earlier for domestic travel and later for outbound travel for difference reasons
                                                                                    • Figure 40: Average days before departure, by consumer classification, March 2018
                                                                                  • Despite preference for online booking, they’re still attracted to offline booking
                                                                                    • Mintropolitans tend to book whole before departure, and they are also more open to various payment options
                                                                                      • Figure 41: Payment preference, product purchase, by consumer classification, March 2018
                                                                                      • Figure 42: Payment preference, payment method, by consumer classification, March 2018]
                                                                                  • Appendix – Online Booking Timing

                                                                                      • Figure 43: Online booking timing, domestic travel, March 2018
                                                                                      • Figure 44: Online booking timing, outbound travel, March 2018
                                                                                      • Figure 45: Domestic booking lead time, June 2016 vs June 2018
                                                                                      • Figure 46: Outbound booking lead time, June 2016 vs June 2018
                                                                                  • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                                    • Methodology
                                                                                      • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                        • Abbreviations

                                                                                        About the report

                                                                                        This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                        • The Consumer

                                                                                          What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                        • The Competitors

                                                                                          Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                        • The Market

                                                                                          Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                        • The Innovations

                                                                                          New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                        • The Opportunities

                                                                                          Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                        • The Trends

                                                                                          What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                        Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.