I was on the road again for 11 days. I was traveling with a group of Chinese celebrities and media. And the media themselves are celebrities as well. I always take notes of what I observe on my tours with media and celebrities. But this is the first time I write them down for all who need them to better understand and cater to the Chinese media needs.
Fewer stops could mean better understanding of each stop.
Media, expecially magazines, need more materials about each attraction or experience than others. They are not only telling people where they have been and how they feel, but also hoping to interpret the experience in a Chinese background, comparing Canadian culture with Chinese culture. No matter it’s a travel magazine like National Geographic Traveler or a culture magazine like Life Weekly or New Weekly, they need deeper understandings of what they are seeing and doing to make sure their articles don’t fall into the category of advertorial.
Chinese apetite vs. Canadian food.
French cuisine inspired Canadian fine dining is still Canadian food, not Chinese. We may try everything to show them that we can cook as well as the Frenchmen do, they can’t appreciate. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not they don’t think the food is good. It’s only they prefer Chinese food. What is good about Chinese food? Variety! Chinese stomach needs variety to be satisfied. Look at our own menu.
Your choice of Soup, Salad or Calamari
Your choice of Prime Rib, Sirloin Steak, Chicken, Pasta or Fish (salmon in most of the cases)
Your choice of desert or no desert
Look at the Chinese menu now.
Chinese soup, shrimp dumplings, beef or pork shumai, baked red bean dim sum, stir fried green leaf vegetables, tofu, scallop, chicken, eggplant, spicy fish, fried noodles, fried rice, fruits for desert. And most importantly, all above are shared in one meal. No wonder why they love Chinese food even when Chinese food in Toronto is not the same as it’s in Beijing. When you eat 3 dinners of steak in a row, you get sick of it, too.
Shopping is as good as seeing Niagara Falls. Or almost as good.
The buying power of Chinese media is eye-widening. And if you have any idea how much the same thing we buy here for 50 dollars sell for in Beijing, you will understand why they need more time shopping. A bottle of 375ml Inniskillin Icewine is over 1000 RMB (160 CND) in Beijing, while you can get it here for 67 bucks. A Michael Kors purse that you need to pay over 4000 RMB ($700) to get in Beijing will only cost you no more than $400 here. 1L of Kirkland maple syrup from Costco costs no more than 13 dollars in Toronto. But in Beijing, it sells for nearly 300 RMB ($45). A media friend in this last group brought no personal belongings but an empty suitcase from Beijing with him just to fill it with his purchases here. If you want the media to be happy and perform as you would love them to perform, give them time to shop.
Get your Chinese translation/interpretation ready.
Among all the places they visited, those with Chinese information, translation or interpretation work the best. ROM had a nice lady, Ms. Liu from Taiwan to tell the stories behind the dinosaurs, Egyptian mummies and ancient Chinese murals. Another Taiwan lady, interpreter at Casa Loma, was able to get the group sticked with her through the tour in the castle using her vivid introduction to the history of Sir Henry Pellat. In order to achieve the same effect, I jumped in many times where Chinese information was lacking, just to make sure they understand the cultural background, which makes one attraction different from another. It’s so important that I couldn’t over emphasize why every attraction needs to get the language part ready to make sure their input will generation the most power.