10 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel Industry in 2019

KOL (Key Opinion Leader) Marketing, sometimes called Influencer Marketing, is an indirect type of marketing that aims to promote brands, products or services via advice or reviews. In 2018, China has become one of the most KOL Marketing friendly countries, allowing the top KOL of CHINA to create their own media channels. According to E-marketer, spending on China’s shopping apps reached USD 1.53 trillion! So in year 2020, not only Weibo and WeChat influencers will have much work to do, but influencers from mobile apps such as Douyin (Chinese Tiktok), Weitao (Blogging site of Taobao), Red (Xiaohongshu) who may not have Weibo or WeChat account will be involved greatly in promotional campaigns of the brands. 

Today we will take a closer look at those who promote travel for Chinese consumers, while playing a big part in the industry by being frequent travelers themselves.

How Chinese Travel influencers help your business in 2019-2020? 

Chinese KOL and Influencers are becoming more and more essential to foreign businesses that want to attract Chinese tourists. From Airport Duty free zones to local restaurants, Chinese KOLs create one of the strongest new media channels and travel references for hundreds of thousands of fans. 

Some of the most important advantages of Chinese KOL marketing are: 

But the big question still remains: how can I make sure the campaign followers reach my destination? With that in mind, campaign of the influencer better include the exact location of the promoted destination, best ways to reach it and the best features of the destination that will bring value to the traveler’s life (special experiences, great deals, new products or services).

Indicating your business location in KOL campaigns

Apps like Douyin and RED allow KOLs to pin down the location they talk about. When follower clicks on that link, more information could be available about the spot. 

Linking locations of RED

Following the link, users see more information such as Business hours and address

Clicking on Business hours will take users to specific page about ticketing and other relevant details

Most of information could be described in the KOL post, but it is best not to over do the business side as it could make a post very commercial and not too attractive. 

Top KOL apps and social media platforms for travel industry

When brands think about using KOLs and Influencers to advertise to Chinese tourist, it is important to understand the social media landscape of traveling industry in China. Unlike the west, Chinese tourists have dozens of sources to rely on when travel. 

XIAOHONGSHU (RED/Little Red Book): before traveling 

This app is mostly used by Millennials and Gen Z women from top-tier cities in China. Red’s main purpose is review and recommendations. Started as cosmetics and skin care cross-border app, today Red is one of the top apps for all kinds of advice giving including travel. 

Brands use Red to cooperate with Chinese KOL on a “organic” level, where the advertising is not too obvious. Red provides a “brand station” type of account where brands do not sell anything, but have a brand information page  with latest updates and videos. 

 

red xiaohongshu for influencers marketing traveling
red xiaohongshu brand station account

QUNAR Blog: While traveling 

When people are on a go at the destination, and want a little extra advice, they go to 2 main platforms: Qunar and Dianping.

Qunar is one of the very first Chinese travel ticket booking engine and travel blog. One of the differentiating points of Qunar are the running comments lines on featured image of the post. Qunar is easy to use, and popular among 

qunar blog for travel chinese KOLs

Access to Blogging space in Qunar App

qunar blog for travel chinese KOLs

Qunar has 400 million registered users and 40,3 million active monthly (Feb, 2019)  users and still growing with a speed of about 2% a month. 

chinese travel apps rank

 

Leading Chinese Influencers in Travel Industry:

Shenwei#1 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel 

Name: Shenwei

Followers: 5.69million on Sina Weibo

Brief Introduction: Shenwei takes a refreshing approach to his writing and is also a globe-trotter. . He has written travel literature including “Let’s go! You still have your youth and dreams” and “The day I met the world”, a personal growth novel “Dear, have you been lonely?” and romance novels such as “I like you, you know? ” and ” I miss you, you know?”. He has also been invited by many television and radio stations to host shows. He has been a guest on shows including “Big Entertainer”, “Fashion Icon”, “Travel Channel Travel Sharing Session”, “Mobile Vision”, “The Choice”, “Qilu World” and many others. He has his own travel show on  Xiamen Tourism Radio, FM94.0 called “The Travel Diary of Shenwei”.

He also has his own travel programs on Youku and Tudou. Shenwei acts as the travel ambassador for Sina Tourism and Travel, global hotel experience ambassador for Ctrip and public welfare ambassador for Zhongxin Travel. He has also been appointed as the Bazaar public welfare celebrity. Shenwei has been  invited by Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia and some domestic tourism bureaus to promote their tours and hotels. Shenwei

 

Layla#2 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel 

Name: Layla

Followers: 4.9 million on Sina Weibo

Brief Introduction: Through WeChat and Sina Weibo, Layla has created China’s first “Female Private Collection of Independent Travels” IP with 4.8 million loyal followers. She is helping to shape a new image of Chinese women as travelers with “Independence + Cultivation + Insight”. Her unique travel model is based around her tagline “In-depth travels by an independent female – do not follow fashion to explore the destination”.

She has also created her own successful brand and is highly regarded as a travel KOL. Layla is partly famous because of her divorce with one of the most popular actor/TV hosts of China, party for her freedom spirit. Today Layla is communicating to the audience via Wechat as well, creating long article that feel like chapters of a book. 

Layla

Her follower base is mainly highly educated Chinese travellers from top tier cities of China with a substantial travel experience. Attracting more than 85% of female travellers, Layla has a strong commercial influence on her followers, with Weibo organic engagement rate of 1,5%.

 

layla china audience social media, Chinese Travel KOL

Layla weibo influencer, Chinese Travel KOL

Molly#3 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel 

Name: Molly

Followers: 3.59million on Sina Weibo

Brief Introduction: Molly, also known as the Globe Traveler, is a columnist, screenwriter, actress, model and popular blogger. She graduated from East China Normal University and was raised in a family of performers. Since her time at university, she has visited many countries including Japan, South Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Armenia, Karabachos, Georgia, Turkey and others.

Her moving quote “I’m only worried about one thing: I won’t finish seeing this world before I die” has inspired and moved many people who now follow her travels through photos and articles. Her followers on Weibo, travel websites and other platforms can appreciate the culture and customs of the different places she travels to. Molly has also published several works including “Travelling with Molly” and “Shimmering on the Road: Travelling with Molly 2”. Chinese Travel KOL

Lan #4 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel 

Name: Lan

Followers: 3.16million on Sina Weibo

Brief Introduction: AZinan, whose real name is Jin Yinan, is a travel photographer, travel writer, freelance writer, and major media columnist. She has been on her journey for 10 years. In this time, she has visited various domestic provinces, cities and autonomous regions in Europe, the ASEAN region,  Asia, Africa, North America, the Pacific Islands and others. Unlike other professional travelers, Jin Yinan is also has an office job working in the media industry. Despite having a day job, she makes use of her holiday time to turn travelling into a habit. Chinese Travel KOL

Cao#5 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel 

Name: Cao

Followers: 2.97million on Sina Weibo

Brief Introduction: In the 90’s Cao found he had more free time outside of work. As a result, he began to travel widely and fell in love with travelling. He was one of the first groups of tourists from China to gain a travel visa to Japan. During this trip he drove around Japan, tackling some of the more challenging driving routes. Since then he has done a lot of self-drive travelling, including driving through Tibet. He describes himself as a person who “loves to travel and fiddle with the camera” and as “an individual who is passionate about self-driving!” He is now a columnist for China National Geography and is well-known as a traveler on Weibo. He was named as one of the Weibo top 10 influential tourism giants in 2015-2016, having 2.49 million followers at the time. His company designed “Self-Driving in China, Russia, Mongolia: Journey to Ancient Tea” which won the 2017 “Top Ten Foreign Self-Drive Routes of the Year”. Their earlier publication “The Ten Thousand Kinds of Self-Driving Courses to Ten Thousand Kinds of Customs” was a runner up for “China’s Top 10 Self-Driving Route” in 2016. Chinese Travel KOL

Janice#6 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel 

Name: Janice

Followers: 2.94million on Sina Weibo

Brief Introduction: Janice comes from Guangdong. She is running her own company, and owns 2 Taobao shops. Her passion is all about discovering unique and fashionable clothing in different countries and bringing it back home. Chinese Travel KOL

Jia#7 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel 

Name: Jia

Followers: 2.80million on Sina Weibo

Brief Introduction: Jia has many identities: travel expert, photographer, well known blogger and Weibo star.  Despite his good looks, Jia would rather make a living from his photography skills. He has travelled to the Netherlands, United States, Brazil and  Australia, leaving his footprint in one country after another. Jia has walked over mountains and rivers to see the world. He shares his stories and the meaning of travel with his fans. Chinese Travel KOL

Winnie#8 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel 

Name: Winnie

Followers: 2.18million on Sina Weibo

Brief Introduction: Winnie is a well-known food tourism blogger, Weibo Travel Player, hotel experience expert and reporter for the China Photography Association. She has travelled to over 30 countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia and to Australia, as well as all over China. She holds the role of Promotion Ambassador for Quzhou Network Travel and is also the public image spokesperson for Yushu Tourist Administration. Chinese Travel KOL

Claire#9 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel 

Name: Claire

Followers: 2.1M

Having been over 30 countries and 100 cities, Claire gained millions of loyal followers on weibo and other platforms by taking high quality photos and sharing traveling experience. What makes her special is that she claims to travel with beauty and love in a smart way rather than hard or tough. As a result, In 2017, she was awarded as one of the top 10 most popular and influential travel KOLs in China. She also took part in the reality show《K-WAVE》in Seoul invited by COSMO. Chinese Travel KOL

#10 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel 

Name:  Qiao Da Bai

Followers: 200K

One of the Chinese Micro Influencer covering travel, motherhood and lifestyle. Qiao has a very sticky follower base and is talking to a Chinese followers abroad (UK). She is using vlogging to talk about her eventful life filming from different cities of the world. In China she has created a few blog and vlogs together with Leila.

Chinese Travel KOL

 

Chinese Micro influencers in 2019

Want to work more closely with Chinese Micro KOL and Influencers this year? Make sure your money are not wasted, but also plan to work on your content on a compelling and genuine way. Lot’s of foreign brands use a micro-influecer strategy to attract young clients from China, and are doing it well!

Want to receive a list of Chinese micro influencer and a personalised strategy on how to work with them? Shoot us a message!

Kate CHERNAVINA10 Chinese KOL and Influencers in Travel Industry in 2019

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