Heathrow airport will pioneer using Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo having already created a WeChat account in what it claims is a first for the UK.
The UK hub has hired Qumin, the UK’s first Chinese digital marketing agency, to run the accounts which combined are used by over 600 million people in China.
Heathrow said a presence on Sina Weibo and WeChat will enable the airport to promote UK tourism in China as well as acting as a customer service tool by providing visitors with real-time information about their journey.
The channels will give customers rich content on getting around the UK, things to do and places to visit, shopping destinations and partner offers.
Heathrow uses WeChat to understand where Chinese visitors have arrived from and make personalised recommendations, so people arriving from Chengdu can be directed to the best ‘hotpot’ restaurants, for instance.
Heathrow’s launch on Sina Weibo complements its already established WeChat account, which allows chat between passengers and a dedicated airport team.
Qumin set Heathrow up on both WeChat and Weibo and will be responsible for their ongoing management.
Marc Ellams, Heathrow head of passenger communications, said: “We are constantly evolving the way we engage with customers and with inbound tourism from China continuing to rise, having a presence on Sina Weibo is critical if we want to provide the best possible service to our passengers.”
Qumin founder and chief executive Arnold Ma, added: “We are delighted to have been chosen to work with Heathrow – the UK airport that sees the most traffic from China.
“Heathrow creates the first and last impression of Britain for Chinese travellers and by using Sina Weibo and WeChat we will communicate directly with them before, during and after their visit, ensuring a positive experience.
“This is also essential for the airport to grow its business in this complex market. For Qumin, this latest win establishes us further as a major player in destination marketing to Chinese travellers.”