This is a 3-part interview. Scroll to the bottom to find a link to part 2.
If you’re in tourism, you’ll know the term “FIT” – Free Independent Traveller.
It’s a trend that’s rocking the industry, forcing operators to reinvent the way they engage with tourists. No longer are tourists simply trusting a travel agent to book everything.
A fast-growing minority of travellers are planning their own way, and they use online tools to plan every step.
ZeaYou is a service set up by Auckland Chinese-Kiwi Jiani Wu. It helps Chinese travellers take control over their own itinerary.
A seasoned traveller herself, Jiani herself reflects the new face of Chinese tourism.
We asked Jiani a few questions; here’s what she said:
- Why did you start ZeaYou?
Believe it or not, I was actually trained in Economics and Finance and have been working with a bank for a few years.
But I’m always a passionate traveler. I started travelling with my grandparents and learning to speak English when I was five. I’m interested in people and their stories and I hope my customers get to experience the people and culture of New Zealand too. This means I would like to see them staying in the country for more than a couple of days and visit as many places as possible.
Also, I would like to introduce the New Zealand outdoor lifestyle and activities to my fellow Chinese travellers. New Zealand is so resourceful in terms of outdoor activities.
Therefore, ZeaYou was founded to help the Chinese travelers enjoy New Zealand better. We suggest interesting itineraries to our customers, test the itineraries and activities, blog our own travel stories, encourage safe travelling and driving, and promote New Zealand’s culture and sceneries.
- Can you give us a picture of the “average” FIT, if there is such a thing?
It’s difficult to profile an “average” Chinese FIT. But there are some unique characteristics:
- They’re willing to take calculated risks. Travelling to a totally new country and speaking an unfamiliar language can be daunting to a lot of people. They need information to do their homework to reduce the risks. Part of the work we do is to provide customers with as much information about New Zealand as possible via our website and social media posts.
- They’re spontaneous and they love the freedom of exploring the places. We do a lot of work to help our customers to come up with their own itineraries, according to their likes and dislikes.
- They’re curious and like exploring new things. Most of them are urban dwellers but they fly for over 12 hours one way to see alpacas, sheep, and miniature donkeys in New Zealand.
Next time, we’ll ask Jiani:
- What makes an FIT different from other tourists?
- How do FITs make decisions differently?
What would you like to know about the Chinese FIT market?