The Right Formula: DMOs & Livestreaming


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Los Angeles

It’s safe to say that live-streaming is a Chinese millennials’ way of life. The market has grown exponentially over the past several years, and  in late 2016, China Daily claimed that nearly half (or over 325 million Chinese) were using some form of a live-streaming app.

What are they streaming, exactly? Users get their fill of entertainment by tuning into the lives of others across the globe–ranging from dancing, singing, eating, tutorials, discussions, and Q&A’s. Live-streaming is a day-in-the-life, a place for observers, interactors, connectors, and those who simply need a break from their daily mundane. It enables a bird’s eye view into others’ unique existence, whether it’s watching a girl shop her way through Shanghai’s French Concession, or watching a teenage boy eat a bowl of noodles in a famous restaurant.

So, this week we’ve decided to dive into live-streaming for destination marketing organizations (DMOs), because it’s an industry that’s near and dear to our advertising hearts. The right live-streaming formula will not only extend DMOs geographic reach, but can also support the DMOs messaging, its distinctive brand, and vibrant culture, ultimately inspiring the Chinese consumer to book their faraway trips. With the indisputable force that is live-streaming, organizations and brands looking at China can no longer leave the platform out of their marketing mix.

Outlined below are some of the most integral parts of live-streaming success for DMOs:


There are more than three hundred live-streaming platforms in China today, so it’s a crowded ecosystem. Most are built for gaming, which is one of China’s predominant  live-streaming categories. Others are more suitable for destination marketing and the tourism sector. Hylink uses Yizhibo, a live streaming app that has achieved outstanding success in a short time, largely due to its partnership with Sina Weibo. DMOs can leverage their Weibo followership, which encompasses a strong KOL and celebrity network, allowing the organizations to get in front of their target demographic.


Once a DMO is on the right platform, the organization will need to find an effective live-streaming host, such as a key opinion leader (KOL) or a popular celebrity. Hiring the right host will bring you front and center to your desired audience, and the most powerful customer for your brand. If DMOs decide on a celebrity or KOLs to run their live streams on Yizhibo, they can subsequently attract large fan bases to tune in. This allows them to engage with millions of people at a time and create enormous influence in a short timeframe.


After an organization has secured the right brand ambassador and streaming platform, they’ll need to pinpoint the right timing. Considering variance in time zones, the organization and their hosts need to contemplate time differences, to determine the optimal time for Chinese audience engagement. While Chinese users favor live-streaming between 9 a.m. - 11 p.m., that time can potentially restrict DMOs and the experiences that might be available. Therefore, by sorting out the ideal time and incorporating all potential factors, a DMO can identify the best experience for their desired streaming objectives.


It is also pertinent to establish a timeframe and expected live stream duration. We typically recommend a 30-90-minute stream. Further, since the live stream should not break, the host should be cognizant of transitions. Live-streaming content should be consistent and should exclude long rides or extended periods of transportation in between two locations, as it could lead to viewer drop-off.


The first stage of infrastructure: lighting. For instance, Hylink often hosts live streams at wineries, and if we’re on the ground, in the middle of the day, we’re constantly ensuring  there is appropriate and ample lighting. Is the sun causing a glare on the user’s screen? Is it raining? It’s undeniably important to have a backup plan, should conditions change. You want to know where and how you’ll bring the audience indoors. Is it windy? Does the host have headphones with a mic, and a charged smartphone with portable Wi-Fi? All key details for maintaining live-streaming infrastructure for the best possible user experience. We always recommend indoors, when possible, as it ensures a more premium viewing experience. In terms of content style, it’s always ideal to have an agenda or itinerary prepared. Focus on capturing and retaining audience attention with sensational sights, popular  landmarks, or beautifully crafted food. We don’t recommend an actual script, as live-streaming should be more conversational and interactive. DMOs should also be prepared to answer user questions in real time.

Overall, live streaming for DMOs (and brands) can be a genuinely beneficial and a powerful marketing avenue for those interested in establishing a presence in China. For deeper insights into Chinese social media or if you’re interested in learning more about our streaming work with DMOs, please get in touch.

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