SEATTLE – Today, Visit Seattle launched its new WeChat CityExperience Mini Program for Mandarin speaking visitors on the popular Chinese social media platform. Always pushing the envelope of innovation, Seattle is the second U.S. city to develop such a tool for inbound Chinese visitors.
The WeChat CityExperience Mini Program serves as a modern city guide – highlighting points of interest, attractions, hotels, and tours and it even makes itinerary suggestions. The entire program is translated and available to Chinese visitors in written and audible Mandarin, ensuring its usability. WeChat has nearly 1 billion monthly active users and is the most widely used social media platform in China. China is Seattle’s top overseas inbound market for international travelers, which is why the program is crucial.
“In 2017, Seattle welcomed more than 196,000 Chinese visitors who spent $236.7 million during their stays with us,” Visit Seattle President and CEO Tom Norwalk said. “It is a powerful tool and offers us an opportunity to welcome Chinese visitors with information in a way they want to receive it with the hope that it makes for more memorable and effortless experiences in our city.”
Visitors will be able to access the Visit Seattle Mini Program anytime – as early as planning their trip at home or as late as deplaning at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Visit Seattle has taken out a series of traditional advertising in the airport’s terminals and tramways where visitors can access the program directly by scanning the QR code with their smartphone.
“WeChat is China’s most popular app,” Head of WeChat Marketing Juliet Zhu said. “When Chinese travel overseas this app continues to provide value. This Mini Program does not only improve the holistic travel experience in Seattle, but also marks a significant step in innovation and use-case expansion of the WeChat ecosystem. We are happy to see more global organizations and companies leveraging WeChat and the WeChat ecosystem to create more value for users.”
While other cities have developed Mini Programs on the platform, the Visit Seattle Mini Program was designed in partnership with local businesses, cultural destinations and other community and government partners. Additionally, all of the content was curated and designed in-house at Visit Seattle to ensure visitors enjoy a welcoming, highly curated, uniquely Seattle experience. Featured on the platform are hotel recommendations, cultural excursions, outdoor recreation opportunities and even full recommended itineraries.
Visit Seattle’s WeChat CityExperience Mini Program was a cornerstone activity to the Global Tourism Summit – another first for the organization. The Global Tourism Summit occurred at Bell Harbor International Conference Center April 10 and for the first time brought leading international travel and tourism experts from Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the UK to speak directly to business, cultural and government leaders in Seattle about the climate and trends occurring in tourism worldwide.
“The summit was an incredible opportunity for our travel and hospitality community to hear directly from international experts and industry leaders about how Seattle is perceived around the globe as a tourist destination,” Visit Seattle Vice President of International Tourism John Boesche said. “In addition, it helps our business and community partners see what we are doing on their behalf, like the WeChat CityExperience Mini Program, to stimulate interest in visiting Seattle and converting that interest into seats booked on flights, rooms booked in our hotels and patronage of our cultural, culinary and retail industries.”
Speakers included President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association Roger Dow, President and CEO of Expedia Group Mark Okerstrom, and Director of Photography for National Geographic Traveler Anne Farrar. Visit Seattle’s destination representatives from Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and the UK unveiled current trends, insights and opportunities available to partners in their home markets.
About Visit Seattle: Visit Seattle, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to enhance the employment opportunities and economic prosperity of the region. For more information, visit www.visitseattle.org.
About WeChat: WeChat envisions and innovates new ways for people to connect, communicate and share. WeChat is a mobile social communication application designed for smart phone users. WeChat empowers users in fun and dynamic ways, by bringing together messaging, social communication and games in one seamless, interactive experience, with comprehensive privacy and security settings that can be tailored as needed. WeChat has received TrustArc (formerly TRUSTe) certification. WeChat provides a central point of control for users to share voice, photos, videos, and text messages across their entire social ecosystem. WeChat is owned and operated by Tencent Holdings Limited, a leading provider of Internet value-added services in China. Tencent was founded in Shenzhen, China, in 1998. Shares of Tencent (00700.HK) are traded on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.