China Connect : When did you have the idea to launch Zanadu.cn, and why ? What’s its DNA, mission and target audience, in this fast growing Chinese travel market ?
Dirk Eschenbacher : Over the past year more than 100 million Chinese have traveled abroad. In recent years most of those travelers have joined a tour group that takes them safely through uncharted territory. No need to speak English to a taxi driver, read a menu in a Parisian restaurant or figure out how to use the subway, its all been taken care of.
Now the trend is changing. More and more Chinese understand and speak English, are exposed to even the remotest travel destinations through movies and travel websites, and start to appreciate the experiences that come with traveling foreign countries. Less Chinese food and less shopping for luxury goods, more of local cultures, local food and good hotels.
Still Chinese travelers are not very experienced when it comes to organizing a trip on their own. Which hotel to book? How does transportation work? What are the customs in the destination country? What to eat, what to wear, what to say?
Dirk Eschenbacher : Content plays an important role in helping customers form a better picture of the product or service they buy. Content helps to create context, inspiration, support and confirmation. Content, if strategic and focused works on every stage of the purchase funnel.
We here at Zanadu, a boutique and luxury lifestyle travel agency in China, have given information and content a very important role in our business strategy from the beginning. Education and inspiration position our brand beyond our product and help us to engage our community way before and after they book their trip.
While travel content is a core element of our strategy, we propagate a much broader lifestyle that is lived or aspired to by our customers. People who love boutique, luxury and design hotels are surely also interested in fashion, art, delicious food, culture, history, etc.
China Connect : You opened a WeChat account: how (much) do you leverage this platform among all Zanadu’s touch points ? What are the key learnings so far ?
Dirk Eschenbacher : On that premise we built a content team that creates timely and relevant content for our community to be read and shared on mobile phones and social platforms like WeChat. By now we are consistently listed as one of the top 10 lifestyle content channels on WeChat.
View the full China’s superstar Karen Mok story for Zanadu Here
Laure de Carayon
Founder&Ceo China Connect