Harrods was one of the earliest UK retailers to adopt Weibo as a marketing tool and in September 2013 became the first major UK retailer to launch an official presence on WeChat.
For the Weibo treasure hunt campaign, which is running from 2 through 24 December, Harrods' iconic 'green men' hid three specially wrapped Christmas gifts around the store in London, each featuring the Sina Weibo logo.
The official Harrods Weibo account is giving followers one clue per day about the locations of the gifts. Visitors in the store can also participate, with assistance from a special edition of the store's Chinese-language printed store guide. To win, a shopper must find one of the gifts and upload a picture of himself or herself with the gift to the Weibo account.
The campaign aims to reach both Chinese visitors to the UK and the significant UK-based Chinese population, according to the brand. Although mainland residents can't participate directly (unless they know someone in London to cooperate with), the campaign clearly aims to raise awareness of the store in China. In fact, the store has engaged leading Weibo travel influencers to help extend the campaign's reach with an eye toward reachig future UK visitors.
Harrods will pick one winner to receive all three luxury gifts: a Harrods Steiff bear, a bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne and a set of monogrammed leather items from Aspinal of London. The store will announce the winner on Christmas Eve.
According to VisitBritain, the Chinese inbound market has grown faster in percentage terms than any of VisitBritain’s 22 priority markets, with spend up by 132 per cent to US$299 million and visits up by 21 per cent in the first half of 2013, compared with the first half of 2012.
VisitBritain will be launching a China Welcome campaign in the spring of 2014 to showcase how the UK travel industry caters to the needs of Chinese visitors. Founding members who have committed to the initiative—including Virgin Atlantic, Hilton Worldwide, the John Lewis partnership, Bicester Village (an outlet shopping destination) and Harrods—are already providing information in Mandarin and adapting their product offerings.
"In the last twelve months China has become the largest tourism source market in the world, worth $102 billion," Sandie Dawe, CEO of VisitBritain, said in the press statement. "We want to make sure that Britain competes effectively for this market, helping the industry to develop products and services that appeal to Chinese visitors."