Oct 28, Alibaba Group announced today that it will upgrade its online travel subsidiary “Taobao Travel” by launching a new brand called “Alitrip” (Chinese: Qua).
Alitrip’s online platform already has tens of thousands of suppliers, a huge selection of travel and vacation products, and a smooth and secure payment system. Alitrip will use a completely new Visual Identity system and the new domain name www.alitrip.com. The brand ambassador will be the cartoon character McDull (Chinese: Maidou). McDull is a fun-loving piglet character created in Hong Kong and extremely popular in China.
Alitrip’s Mobile “Itinerary Service Platform”
Alitrip has incorporated innovative functions like One-Button Cancellation, Auto Check-In, Taxi Booking etc. into its mobile “Itinerary Service Platform”.
The Auto Check-In function is not the same as self-check-in. Users only have to choose their seat preference and after they buy their ticket the system will intuitively select the user’s preferences to check them in.
The One-Button Cancellation function is the first of its kind in the travel industry. It solves the problem of customers collecting refunds from canceled tickets. Users only need to make a one-button refund claim at the Alitrip app and the refund will be transferred to their account in less than one hour.
Hotel After-Payment, Travelpay, ticket promotions, and the C2B Sales Model
Alitrip is now testing out new services such as Hotel After-stay Payment Service, travel purchasing service “Travelpay”, and air ticket packages.
The Hotel After-stay Payment service automatically deducts room charges from users’ Alipay accounts and eliminates the need for credit card pre-authorization or deposits. Users can directly check in and when they check out they only have to return their room key.
Travelpay service works when users use Alipay to buy products on Alitrip. All the money will not be “spent” but remain “frozen” in the users Alipay account until the user confirms purchase.
“Singles Day” (Chinese: double 11/Nov 11) is a modern “holiday” popular with Chinese youth. Alibaba has now made it into a nationwide online shopping festival, similar to the USA’s Black Friday.
Now everybody is watching if Alitravel’s massive sales activities will push traditional travel companies into joining in this event. According to Alitravels statistics, the growth rate in vacation product transactions was 65% in 2012 and 85% in 2013.
Alitravel already has its “Singles Day” offers for 2014 available. The booking period has started from the 15th of October for deals like a 9 day “USA West Coast Tour” for 5,999 RMB, and an “All-Around China” package ticket that includes 10 trips anywhere in China for a year.
Alitrip is laying out the blueprint for the “Future of Travel” for its users, suppliers and partners, with many innovative ideas. Looking at the implementation of their latest new products, we can see that they will make full use of Alipay, financial services, and the C2B model to make breakthroughs that traditional travel companies have never thought possible. (Translation by David)