Ctrip, Tencent and Alibaba
Ctrip has launched its first travel concept store at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3, allowing customers, particularly Chinese, to enjoy greater value-added in-destination services, ranging from the selection and booking of local tour activities to enjoying services from local tour guides and more. This is the first time Ctrip has taken its high-standard customer service offline.
Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings is in talks to lead a fresh round of funding worth USD 300-500 million in India budget hotel chain OYO Rooms. The funding will likely put the value of the company at USD 2 billion. “The fund raised is largely for growing the China business,” a source was quoted as saying.
Alibaba Group has teamed up with JR Kyushu, in a bid to expand the use of its Alipay mobile payment. JR Kyushu will reach out to Chinese tourists by designing attractive tourist routes and running special sightseeing trains.
Alibaba-owned B2C shopping site Tmall has implemented a “Tmall Super Brand Day” promotion to offer top placement on its homepage and targeted marketing campaigns for Marriott brands. “We are incredibly excited to partner with Tmall to bring out 30 distinctive brands and global travel experiences to Chinese consumers,” said Peggy Roe Fang, chief sales and marketing officer of APAC, Marriott International.
Alibaba’s travel platform Fliggy has announced its strategic partnership with Turkish Airlines. This will bring a deep integration of their membership systems, and more flexible departure places and destinations for Chinese and global customers, with over 10,000 global flight routes available.
Chinese travelers in the Summer heat
Data from Lvmama.com, a leading self-service travel platform, said Chinese tourists visiting the southern hemisphere this summer rose nearly 40% compared with the same period last year. The top 10 summer destinations are Mauritius, Australia, South Africa, Kenya, New Zealand, Fiji, Seychelles, Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
A report by China Tourism Academy and Ctrip.com indicated that Chinese tourists are expected to spend more than 300 billion yuan (USD 45 billion) in this year's summer escape, and that about 500 million trips will be made in July and August, accounting for about 10% of overall domestic trips this year.
Leisure travel bookings for July and August in Europe are up more than 4% from the same period of last year after an even stronger June, but bookings for the United States are down more than 9% for the year up to July 22 compared with the same period of 2017, ForwardKeys data showed.
According to Ctrip Hotel College Data Research Center, bookings for overseas luxury hotels surge nearly 50% year-on-year this summer. More than 60% of Chinese tourists chose to stay at luxury hotels, and more people tend to choose fun-filled vacations.
The largest number of Chinese travelers applying for tourist visas to visit foreign countries were from Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen in Guangdong province, Nanjing in Jiangsu province and Chengdu in Sichuan province. Compared to last summer, the number of visa seekers from those cities grew by 50% to 160%.
Lvmama said the visits to military-themed tourist areas increased 30% in July year on year. Military-themed tourist attractions are most favored by families and children, accounting for more than 60% of the arrivals, up by 13 percentage points.
A fund unit of Ctrip-backed Tongcheng Tourism has invested tens of millions of yuan in Xiaoqiang Park, an online budget parking platform, to provide parking services at airports and high-speed railway stations for business travelers.
Shared lodging startup Islands has secured its Pre-B round of financing to continue its branding support for independent hotels with the Uber model. Based on quality, comfort level and room rates, Islands classifies its properties into three levels: Islands Unit for economy products, Islands S for mid-end services, and Islands Premier for upscale offerings.
Family health and travel platform Mtour Globe has recently pulled in tens of millions of yuan in an angel funding round. It connects travel products used at a lower frequency with lifestyle services and members’ benefits that are more frequently used, such as Mtour credit points, global visa certificates, overseas driver's licensing, health checks, and gym passes.
Camp education brand Star Sida has raised tens of millions of yuan in its series A round of financing. It offers winter and summer camps, weekend camps and parent-child camps, with boot camp programs, field survival training, nature education, study tours and other themed activities targeting youngsters.