Australia’s Star Entertainment Group has launched new Chinese branding, supported by a new WeChat account, aimed at positioning the company’s integrated resorts as more appealing destinations to Chinese travelers.
The branding sees The Star’s Chinese name under its existing eight-pointed logo reworked from the previous literal translation of “Star Harbour City” to a new translation – “Millions of Stars”.
In a group announcement on Thursday, Managing Director and CEO Matt Bekier explained that Star Entertainment Group was keen to increase its share of the booming Asian tourism market and more specifically of those travelling internationally from mainland China.
“The previous brand was really only identifiable for Sydney and certainly less prestigious, distinctive and dynamic than the one we will now present to Asian markets,” he said, pointing to ongoing upgrades to The Star Gold Coast and the development of the Queen’s Wharf precinct in Brisbane.
“This showcases what we bring to our destinations in Sydney and south east Queensland, which is premium offerings and experiences.”
The brand will be supported by a new WeChat account for the group, which also launched on Thursday.
“There is a global arms race at present with countries investing heavily and repositioning themselves to capitalize on substantial tourism growth out of Asia, particularly from China,” Bekier continued.
“By presenting ourselves as an integrated resort company where the finest hotels, restaurants, theater shows, music acts and other entertainment options are available within single precincts in prime locations, we can provide a compelling point of differentiation.”
The Star noted that Australia attracted 8.3 million tourist arrivals in the 12 months to March 2018, with that number expected to hit 15 million annually by 2028. Chinese visitation comprised 1.3 million of the March 2018 figure and will grow to 3.9 million in a decade. Around 50% of Chinese are return visitors.
“Our over-arching tourism strategy is about inspiring and attracting independent travelers from around the world, but obviously with a focus on Asia and especially China,” Bekier said.
“The staggering wealth creation in China that has created a massive new middle-class demographic cannot be under-estimated when looking ahead at how Australia can expand the tourism sector.
“At the same time, we cannot be complacent. Just doing what we’ve been doing, delivering the product and experiences we have been delivering, will not be enough. Investment and infrastructure are key. More hotel rooms, better airport facilities and more seamless transport options for tourists have to be delivered.
“We also need a more focused China-friendly approach. It is now our biggest source market for inbound visitation. The Chinese are also, by far, the biggest spenders in the tourism space. To ignore that will mean not fully leveraging the opportunity at hand.”
Bekier said the new “Millions of Stars” brand continues the work The Star has undertaken to drive its appeal to Chinese tourists. The company recently installed terminals that accept Wechat Pay and Alipay alongside China UnionPay to make it easier for Chinese visitors to complete transactions at its flagship The Star Sydney property.
“China is Australia’s largest and most lucrative overseas market and critical to our industry’s continued future success,” said Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan.
“With so many international destinations competing aggressively for share of travel wallet, it’s critical that our industry continues to adapt to the changing needs of today’s increasingly savvy and sophisticated Chinese traveler.
“It’s great to see operators like The Star Entertainment Group prioritizing what is already a near AU$11 billion market with a clear China strategy that combines investment in their China brand, new infrastructure and tailored services such WeChat Pay payment systems.”