More than half of Chinese travellers are booking their hotel accommodation via the web or mobile apps, up from 45% last year, new research by Hotels.com shows.
Just under half use online accommodation websites and online reviews sites to research their trips and a third check social media for tips.
Four out of five (84%) travellers share their photos and experiences on social media during and after an international trip, with many using hotel Wi-Fi to do so.
Free Wi-Fi is now viewed as the most important service offered by hotels by 59% of travellers from China.
More than 3,000 Chinese international travellers and 3,000 hoteliers around the world were surveyed for the study.
Over a third (36%) of hoteliers believe that the influx of Chinese tourists is one of the factors that will have the most impact on their business in the next 12-24 months.
By 2017 it is predicted that Chinese tourists will spend £1 billion in the UK, an increase of 84% compared to 2013 figures.
The Chinese were also the seventh highest spending nationality on hotel rooms when travelling abroad in 2013, paying an average rate of £107 per night, according to the study.
Two out of three (67%) Chinese consumers now prefer to travel independently, up five percentage points on 2013, while more than 60% of hoteliers have seen a boost in the number of independent travellers in the last two years. This is the clearest indication yet of the move away from the previous preference for group travel, according to Hotels.com.
When questioned about difficulties when travelling abroad, a quarter said that difficulties over the visa application process would deter them from visiting a destination. This underlines the importance of the recent changes proposed by the UK government to simplify the system.
Australia tops the wish list of destinations for Chinese travellers but European destinations also feature in the top ten. France is in second place with the UK in seventh, ahead of Germany in tenth. France is also viewed as the most welcoming European destination, ranking third in the Top 10 list globally, while the UK ties with Germany in tenth place.
Hotels.com EMEA vice president Matt Walls said: “Our study shows that Chinese travellers are becoming increasingly reliant on technology, both before they travel and whilst they are abroad, with amenities such as free Wi-Fi particularly popular.
“To appeal to tech-savvy Chinese guests, hoteliers are responding with over two-thirds (70%) offering free internet access and many more making their websites available in Mandarin.
“In addition, we’re also seeing hoteliers start to sign up to Chinese social networks like WeChat and Weibo to engage with potential guests, as is now commonplace on sites like Twitter and Facebook elsewhere.”
He added: “There are many factors driving the desire of the Chinese people to explore the world independently.
“The rising affluence of the growing middle class with higher disposable incomes, the upward trend in the numbers of repeat travellers and improved local infrastructure are all dovetailing to expedite this growth.”
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