For Beijing, I would say their brand image is centered around the big ticket tourist attractions. When I think of Beijing, and I'm sure it is this way for many others, I immediately think of the Great Wall. Close by that is the Olympics, another large tourist event.
For Xi'an, I think their brand image is centered largely around the history of China. With the terra-cotta warriors and presence of old emperors' tombs, the history is prevalent everywhere.
Hangzhou's brand image centers, to me, around calm city life. With large large skyscrapers but calm city streets, it's the perfect happy medium. Hangzhou also has a large art presence.
Suzhou's brand image for me centered around nature. Calm like Hangzhou it still had that natural feel. However, you can still feel the connection between the development and nature.
Shanghai's brand image is the epicenter of development. It also has the most Western flare to it, which changes things up compared to other large cities in China.
22 June 2017
Looking back on what I knew before this trip started, I knew little to nothing about what China was actually like. Through living through my learning and experiencing process, I was able to learn more about the history and how China developed the way it did. The main thing that I have noticed is that compared to the east, the west part of China is much more underdeveloped. This is for a multitude of reasons, but I think the main one is that because the eastern part of China already has that rich history of development, the east had an advantage over the west.
One way I think that China can kickstart the development of the western part of China would be to put a college there. This may seem like a simple idea, but I think that it would be the easiest way to bring everything else to that part of China. If you think about it, starting with that initial structure removes the necessity of having a large company of assimilating to the culture, and businesses will follow from there.
21 June 2017
I may have previously stated this, but I have a deep love for history museums. History has always been fascinating to me, and I absolutely love history exhibits that have life size figures that give you a glimpse into a real life scenario of the time. One thing that I had noticed during our visit at the museum was that many visitors of the exhibits ignored the "do not cross" signs and would not only walk into the exhibits, but touch, hit, and pose with the figures. This was upsetting to me because not only did I have a hard time seeing the actual exhibit, but I found that it was disrespecting the museums work.
First off, I think that unmovable blockades should be put in place to deter any "wanderers." Second of all, I think more focus should be put on the host country to learn a little more about other cultures and customs. We learned about face and showing respect, and I think all cultures that open their borders should be open to respecting other cultures and customs as well
20 June 2017
As our trip comes to a close, I'm sure everyone got more and more excited to come to Shanghai. However, the difference between me and them I think, was that I did not know anything about Shanghai before coming here, or even before coming on this trip. In my head, I just think I thought that was similar to Tokyo. But after being here for a few hours, I think I was very wrong. I was shocked to see that Shanghai had a more western feel than I thought it would. I thought it would have a similar feel to Beijing.
Thinking about Shanghai being more western than the places we've visited previously, I think it's incredible. After walking through the museum at the Pearl, I thought it was so cool for European Shanghai originally was. I was walking through the museum with Ruby, and I kept telling her how much I thought the scenes looked like Europe.
I think that this makes Shanghai the perfect fuse between the East and the West. We can really see how the cultures have fused together.
19 June 2017
Suzho is a place that I had never heard of before, let alone thought about even wanting to go to. I actually had what I thought was a pretty funny encounter with the doctor that did my back surgery last year during a check up before I left for China. I told him about the trip and he asked me all of the places that I was going to and I listed all of them and he said that he had been to every place. This shocked me a little bit because I didn't expect him to have gone to Suzhou.
That being said, I think that Suzhou is a prime tourist destination if you are looking for a quieter, more local destination. However, it still has many authentic Chinese experiences available. You are able to take a quiet boat ride through the canal, which can give some insight about how the locals live. Or, you can opt for a more "tourist-y" spot along a road of shops.
Either way, you can find both tourist shopping or experience the Chinese history in Suzhou.
18 June 2017
Obviously, I'm sure you know this, tourism has a large impact on many things. Tourism can bring business to unexpected places, help restaurants and tourist destinations thrive, give people jobs, help families put food on their table, and give tourists unforgettable memories. Because I am the direct consumer in this program, I'm going to focus more on the impact that tourism has on tourists.
First of all, tourism can help tourists learn. We saw in the museums that exhibits are now more technology oriented, in an effort to help kids learn more about the culture and history of a place or thing. They also give tourists a chance to put themselves in someone else's shoes and try and experience what life would be like in a place.
Tourism also helps tourists gain experiences that can help them in their daily lives. I'm talking more about thought processes, but tourism can teach tourists to be more open minded, understand cultural differences, and learn new skills.
17 June 2017
When visiting a destination, one is both exposed to tangible and intangible tourism products. Contrary to tangible tourism products, intangible products focus more on the feelings and experiences one has and memories that are gained in a destination. While in WuZhen yesterday, we as a group were able to form many of those types of experiences.
One experience is common throughout every place we go and that is the dining experience. It is one thing to go to any general tourist restaurant, but being able to go to an authentic restaurant on the canal allows us to really feel the local culture in that area through our dining experience.
Another was the canal boat ride we tarted the day off with. The only place that I knew of that has canal rides like that is Italy, so I was shocked to see it in eastern China. This experience allowed us to feel how calm the canal actually is, and gave us some insight into how living along the canal would be.
16 June 2017
Personally, I believe that smart hotels are part of the wave of the future. Not only does it represent the ways that technology is going to one day integrated into everything that we do, but it also represents how the hospitality business is going to begin tailoring their services to personalize every guests' stay.
Some might say that the new technology involved in vacationing might be too much or take away from the relaxing experience, but I think if that person arrived in a hotel room and the room was set to the perfect temperature, their favorite channel already on the tv, and a notecard saying that their favorite coffee was the cafe downstairs they would feel differently.
I also greatly appreciate being able to attend such a conference. That was definitely something the average person does not get to go to. It also shows the university's hospitality to us by having some of the presentation translated. Hearing future technology being talked about was incredible.
15 June 2017
Marketing is something that is vital for any business to be successful. It takes a ridiculously great and "needed" idea for it to sell itself. With that being said, we have noticed some marketing in China at various places that has been very good.
This might just be me, but if there is a story behind something or if it has a particular meaning, I am more inclined to buy it. I'm positive that businesses are aware of this and will take those steps to ensure that someone will buy something.
The first place I noticed this was Beijing when we visited a locals home by the ten temples area. Hearing that he has been an artist his whole like and seeing where he paints made us more inclined to buy his work and support him. And many of us did.
The second place I noticed this was at the tea valley in Hangzhou. Visibly seeing how the green tea would work within our bodies was a selling factor for many of us. And hearing about long term benefits helped to sell as well.
14 June 2017
Technology is something that is rapidly integrating itself into almost everything we do. When is comes to destination marketing and travel there is no exception. One thing that I have noticed in China versus the US is that China is much more technologically advanced than I'd originally thought, and somewhat more advanced than the US when it comes to the amount of technology used in everyday lives.
When it comes to destination marketing, I've noticed a few technology advancements. In the fan museum today, we saw an interactive exhibit where there was a projection on a small city, showing how life was hundreds of years ago and how the fans were made. This can be used to appeal to those and help teach more history of China.
Another one is obviously the amazing show on the water. With everything being so synchronized, we really see the proportion that technology can influence tourism is almost every aspect. In the future, I wouldn't be surprised if technology was in all things.
13 June 2017
Through this trip I've come to learn how much I truly love experiencing different cultures and how much I want to continue traveling the world.
In saying that, I have noticed some differences between the cities we have been to so far. Beijing seems, to me, like the Chinese city that you would expect it to be. It's obviously packed full of people, but also has the Chinese architecture. Beijing also has many known tourist attractions.
Xi'an was similar to Beijing but also has notable differences. Xi'an, to me, is a tamer version of Beijing. There is still many people and there is some known tourist attractions, but there is also less people and I think more hidden gems of attractions. There's a deeply rich history that follows Xi'an, but it is more unknown that Beijing.
Hangzhou seems very different to me. There is MUCH less Chinese architecture, and way fewer people. I think in Hangzhou we are going to see more similarities to a US city than we have so far.
12 June 2017
There are a few reasons to see muslim street, both for foreign and domestic visitors.
I'll briefly go into why it is a must see destination for foreign tourists first, since it has the more obvious answer. First off, the great mosque is a destination where one can see old history as well as how different religions have come to the country. Branching off of that, muslim street gives tourists a chance to not only barter to get some souvenirs, but also to experience authentic Chinese street food. Since the street is popular with both foreign and domestic visitors it gives foreign tourists a chance to see an everyday Chinese "attraction."
As for domestic visitors, the mosque gives people that live in the area a chance to experience the history. With the muslim street itself, the street allows locals to buy authentic food. Not only is this a place where locals can showcase their local street food, but the food markets also give locals a chance to buy basic foods for a great price.
10 June 2017
In being here, I've grown to appreciate Chinese hospitality very much, as it is somewhat different to American hospitality. Here, I think I can say generally that attention to detail is very important in the Chinese culture.
In the meal today, we were told about the right hand/right side dominance and how things are served from that side. This is one little thing that would be overlooked in American hospitality. Another thing would be the toasting before eating. In America, something may be said before dining, but it would not be as formal and would not portray as much respect.
We also noticed the attention to detail in Chinese hospitality while on the hotel tour. It was reiterated many times that the guests' stay is very important and that they have a heavy focus on luxurious accommodation. I thought it was what was said we very inspiring about the guest's stay in China in general. It may be someone's only time in China, so they do their best to make it positively memorable
While in China, I have been able to experience many amazing things. And when coming to Xi'an, I began being exposed to things entirely different from those in Beijing. Of the some two and a half days that I have stayed here, I would say my favorite thing so far was visiting the Terra-cotta army.
The army was something that I had always been extremely fascinated by, and then when I had my sort of "reality check" and really began to focus on what I wanted my life to become and how I wanted to live, the history of the army became a marvel that I had to see. And after seeing it, I can safely say it is one of the most awe-inspiring things I've seen yet.
The tourism products within this visit helped to make it worthwhile. The attraction itself is the main tourism product that made it worthwhile. And briefly, the souvenirs made it so I can relive this experience forever. And lastly, I don't know if this "counts" as a product, but the history took the experience to a new level.
9 June 2017
But I can say that those little things have inspired to me learn a language that I had no interest at all to learn before.
I know it sounds cliche, but I can't think of one thing I would want to change. Everything about Beijing blew my expectations through the roof. This trip has already been life changing for me and it's not even over. It's only been 5 days and I already have an increased sense of curiosity, a greater desire to learn, a want to practice more patience, and longing to experience everything that there is out that is to offer. This trip has already done so much for me and it's just begun.
So going back to the initial question, personally, I wouldn't change anything about Beijing as a destination. But looking from a marketing perspective, there has to be a way to make Beijing more desirable; not in a "it would be cool to go there one day" way, in a "that's where I'm going next" kind of way.
I'm sorry this journi was super long I just went on a tangent.
I know that sounds cliche, but all things that I could think that would make it "easier" or something that "needs improvement" are all superficial things to me. Yeah it would be nice to go to the bathroom in a toilet, have toilet paper ready, see English everywhere (there actually is English nearly everywhere that we went to in Beijing that I noticed, one of the only things I noticed that didn't was some menus, but it was rare). But in saying that, it completely takes away from the experience of traveling halfway around the world. I didn't come to China to experience everything that I expected. I didn't come here to see English everywhere. I chose to come on this trip because it was something that I was COMPLETELY not used to. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. And all of those little things that someone could improve are what makes this trip entirely worth it. Yeah, I can't read any of the street signs or understand the talk while walking around the city.
If I'm being honest, China was never a destination that I wanted to go to. I always thought, "yeah it would be cool to see the Great Wall," and I wanted to get there eventually; but I think I had accepted that if I didn't do those things I would be okay. In saying that, I think one of the only things that could be improved would be more advertising showcasing Beijing as a must see destination. Yes, there is the wall that I'm sure everyone has some desire to see. However, there's a disconnect between wanting to go and doing whatever you can to go. And maybe that lies in the hands of the consumer, but from a marketing perspective there must be something to create a NEED to go to Beijing. Something that makes someone think, "you know what, that's where I'm going next."
Honestly, it's hard for me to come up with something that needs to be improved with Beijing.
8 June 2017
I had no idea how coproduction came into play when sitting at a restaurant halfway across the globe. However, with now knowing what it is, I can safely say that it is something that is very involved in how we as a group eat at each restaurant; at least for me.
If I'm being honest, I'm not the type of person to try new foods everyday. Thinking about it, it seems slightly illogical. Why not try something I've never tried before? It's not going to kill me; what if it turns out to be my favorite food? When coming on this trip though, I knew that trying new things was part of the deal. But still, it always seems easier to say you're going to do something versus actually doing it in the moment.
Going back to the coproduction of it all, my peers have helped me overcome that fear of trying new foods. One specific example of this was Ploy's love of the Chinese rice cakes at dinner last night. Her love of them made it easier to try. With that, it made it easier to try everything else.
7 June 2017
If one thing is for sure, there is a wide variety of people in this world, with a wide variety of interests and motivations when it comes to traveling. Over the course of my life, I would say that I was fit two different types of "travelers." About a year ago, I was the type of person that never questioned anything, and never really cared about the educational aspect behind things. I only went to places to SEE them. The traveler that I am now is vastly different. Now, I jump on any opportunity I have to experience something, and I LOVE learning information behind cultural things.
The traveler I was before found history behind different destinations extremely boring. While now, I see all of the history when learning about it.
I think through an educational context, a way to improve destination marketing would be to set up certain educational posts. This, I think, would be the best option because it gives the opportunity to learn. It also caters to those who just want to see.
I would say the main stakeholders in the country of China would be the citizens (everyday working class citizens). Through what we have experienced today, the citizens of China we have seen today, I'd say, work together to help Beijing thrive as a tourism destination. We also met Zhang as his wife, who were both fractious enough to invite us into their home and teach us a little more about the Chinese culture.
Looking at both of these things, we can take it one step further and identify how all of these things are connected in order to help the country succeed. Starting with Nicki, she is our main tour guide, connecting us with must see destinations of Beijing. We then met Victor, who put us in touch with the rickshaw rides and Zhang himself.
All of these people work together as one giant network to help showcase must-see destinations and experiences of Beijing. And along with that, if they see that we had a great experience, it increases the chances of great future business.
Thinking about going to a destination, my mind also goes to what kind of souvenirs I can't get. However, that is not the only thing that I can "receive" from a destination. Along with basic souvenirs, I can also get pictures, food from that certain destination, or even just the product of the actual attraction. There is also hotel stays and transportation.
Going a little deeper into how you can get a "product" from just visiting a certain destination, the take away can be only the experience. It can be defined as simply as seeing that certain spot or what you take away from it.
There is also the subject of pictures that we've experienced in Beijing. There are the basic "souvenir" photos that you can get which are similar to all of the photos that people take on cruises that you can purchase at the end of your stay. They're also souvenirs for the locals. For them, seeing someone like us could be their product. So even the host party can receive a tourism product at a place.
4 June 2017
So, today was the long awaited arrival to China. I finally get to fully immerse myself in a cultural that is almost entirely different from my own. Naturally, when visiting a place for the first time you form general first impressions when initially seeing it. Mine were pretty simple.
I first noticed that the Chinese drive on the right side of the road, this is something that I always notice when going to new places because most of the places I've been to (most Caribbean islands) drive on the left side of the road.
I also noticed how clean the city itself was, and how orderly the citizens were while driving to the hotel. When waiting for buses everyone formed in a line. Even in intersections where one would first see chaos it still seemed like everyone knew what they were doing.
I also noticed how there is a blend of modern culture and architecture with the traditional Chinese architecture.
Excited to see more.