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Q1 2024 Weibo Rankings Report

Discover how engagement rates fluctuated across various sectors on Weibo in the first quarter of 2024, and delve into the content strategies driving high engagement, from celebrity-driven posts to hashtag campaigns.

Dragon Trail International’s Weibo Rankings Report tracks and analyzes performance for national tourism organizations (NTOs), destination marketing organizations (DMOs), airlines, cruise lines, museums & attractions, and hotels. Our quarterly Weibo reports build industry benchmarks and uncover best practices in digital marketing in the travel sector.

Engagement Rates

Engagement rate is calculated weekly by dividing the number of engagements by the number of followers for each account. The quarterly engagement rate is the average of each week’s engagement rate. When comparing the first quarter of 2024 with the same period in 2023 and 2022, the average engagement rate for all categories exhibited a decline except for DMOs, which demonstrated a slight year-on-year increase.

Looking at the content that generates the highest number of engagements, celebrities, giveaways, and current news are key. Hashtags are also a very important way of marketing on Weibo, as many popular posts include hashtags to encourage and maximize audience engagement. Some posts with high engagements, however, reveal that posting certain content on Weibo can be politically, culturally, and historically sensitive and might elicit negative sentiments from the audience.

NTOs

The top of the rankings table looks quite different in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023. Ranked first for engagements is Visit Norway, up from 32nd place in 2023. Second is Visit Finland, up from 5th place. Tourism Austria rose from 15th place to 4th. Tourism New Zealand, VisitBritain, Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), and Indonesia Tourism Board all made it to the top 20 in the ranking. Notably, Atout France fell from 1st place in 2023 to 18th in 2024.

In the case of Visit Norway, most engagements for the quarter came from one single post: the post reminisces about Wang Yuan’s (Roy Wang), a member of the Chinese boy band TFBOYS, trip to Norway and recalls a similar experience in Norway five years ago. The post received a total of 23,400 engagements, accounting for 97% of Norway’s total engagements.

New Zealand’s video announcing the launch of its mascot, a kākāpō (aka owl parrot) named Kimi, in the Chinese market also drove high engagements. With the world’s only flightless parrot, the tourism board aims to encourage Chinese tourists to experience the natural beauty of New Zealand with curiosity and a spirit of exploration.

DMOs

In the DMO category, Region of Valencia Tourism Board saw a notable increase from 15th place in Q1 2023 to 3rd in 2024. Other than this, the list remained mostly the same compared to the 2023 rankings. Discover Hong Kong and Forever Edinburgh contributed the majority of the engagements, which account for one-third of the category’s total engagements.

Similar to NTOs, celebrities drove high engagements for other tourism organizations. For instance, the DMO post with the highest engagement was by Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing, which was about Jeff Chang’s concert in Dubai for the first stop of his 2024 world tour during the Spring Festival. Notably, the hashtag #你好香港艺见钟情 (love at first sight with artsy Hong Kong) resulted in high engagements and relevant interaction from followers in Q1. Posts with the hashtag included content about upcoming shows and events in Hong Kong, including but not limited to Mayday’s concert, Art Central 2024, ComplexCon Hong Kong, the 48th Hong Kong International Film Festival, and more. The hashtag received a total of 6,642,000 views and over 32,000 relevant posts.

Hong Kong’s hashtag campaign about art-related events

Another type of content that drove high engagements was giveaways. The second most popular DMO post was a lucky draw for a chance to win a 500 yuan travel card for Hong Kong tourism, posted before the Year of the Dragon.

Airlines

With the most engagements and the second-highest engagement rate, Lufthansa generated strong and highly interactive content. In particular, most of its engagements came from one post, which invites users to participate in a poll inviting people to vote for their favorite hometown dish, with the top three dishes making it into Lufthansa’s new menu. The poll received over 14,000 shares, 3,097 likes, and 2,084 poll participants.

Polls and quizzes are an effective way to increase interaction and engagement, especially when the content of the poll/quiz can resonate with the audience. It is also a good way to conduct market research and collect consumer opinions to better its services.

Polls and surveys posted by Lufthansa, AirAsia, and Cathay Pacific 

The airline Weibo post with the most likes in Q1 2024 was Cathay Pacific’s statement regarding the collision of the Korean Air Airbus A330-300 and the Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. Though there were no injuries, many comments were negative, often making references to Cathay Pacific’s discrimination incident against non-English speaking passengers which occurred in May 2023.

Cruise Lines

Only four cruise line accounts were active in Q1 2024, down from six in 2023. Princess Cruises and Costa Cruises, which were active in the same period in the previous year, did not post anything in Q1 2024. The remaining active accounts posted a lot less frequently compared to last year, with an average posting frequency of 25 posts in Q1, down from 41.6 in Q1 2023.

The cruise line category also has a very low engagement rate compared to other categories on Weibo, which is consistent with previous quarters. The post that performed best in terms of likes was Viking’s Chinese New Year giveaway (18 likes), published at the beginning of the quarter, which involved the sharing of “my 2023 travel keyword” and the chance to win a holiday package. The second most popular post (15 likes and 8 comments) was Royal Caribbean’s announcement that the Ovation of the Seas will return to the Tianjin port in 2025.

Museums and Attractions

Attractions decreased content (-33.7%) and engagements (-0.40%) in Q1. The British Museum, who was 1st place in the ranking in Q1 2023, fell to 4th in 2024. The British Museum’s posting frequency decreased by 70.4%, resulting in a decline in total engagements. Hong Kong Disneyland, who ranked 2nd in 2023 with an outstandingly high engagement rate (6.86%), fell to 7th place with an engagement rate of 0.17%. Hong Kong Ocean Park saw a notable increase in engagements, making it to the top of the ranking in 2024.

The most popular content (156 likes) for attractions was Hong Kong Ocean Park’s post about special events and desserts for “Animal Month”. Other popular content by Hong Kong Ocean Park was mainly about holiday celebrations (e.g., Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day) and video guided tours of the park.

Popular posts by Hong Kong Ocean Park, all of which are about upcoming events and special activities  

For museums, the most liked content came from The British Museum (161 likes). The post celebrates the museum’s 265th anniversary, attracting over 356 million visitors over the past two centuries. The post was quite controversial as comments call on the museum to return its collection of Chinese artifacts. The demand has been trending on Weibo since August 2023 and the hashtag “The British Museum please return Chinese antiquities” topped Weibo’s search chart. Posts by the British Museum have sparked more conversation ever since.

Hotels

Marina Bay Sands topped the chart with outstandingly high engagements, accounting for 80.52% (698,869 engagements) of total engagements. With only 10 posts in Q1 (compared to 45 posts by Marina Bay Sands), Bulgari Hotels made it to the second place in the ranking (145,963 engagements), achieving an engagement rate of 10.4%.

The majority of the top posts came from Marina Bay Sands and Bulgari with engagement driven by the popularity of the celebrities featured in the posts: Finale of the popular dance competition show Street Dance of China, Hilton’s mini reality TV show featuring Yijie Zhang, Jacqueline Tan’s concert in Singapore, and Bulgari’s promotional post featuring Na Zha.

Celebrity-related content from Marina Bay Sands, Hilton, and Bulgari

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