State of online travel shopping and booking in China 2019
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16 April 2019

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Source: David|16 April 2019

China consumer marketing consultancy China Luxury Advisors have released some new survey research findings on the use of travel shopping and booking platforms in mainland China.

Highlights:

  • Chinese OTA Ctrip is the platform most used for both trip planning and booking.
  • Other popular platforms include:
    • Qunar
    • Tuniu
    • Fliggy
    • Mafengwo
    • LVMama
    • Airbnb
  • In the travel market, more influential in shaping opinions than reviews by friends and family are OTAs and online forums like:
    • Mafengwo
    • Qyer
    • LVMama
  • Top sources of inspiration re travel destinations:
    1. OTAs
    2. Online travel forums
    3. Personal recommendations by friends and family
    4. Posts on social media
    5. Official destination website or social-media account
  • Film and television are still influential, particularly for those traveling to:
    1. Latin America (cited by 73%)
    2. UK (72%)
    3. France (69%)
    4. North America (68%)
  • Chinese travelers are using OTAs like Ctrip and Figgy more than any other resources for booking travel arrangements.

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Comments:

For Western tourism destinations and businesses:

Note the almost total absence from those lists of Western online platforms - the only exception being Airbnb - but the significant influence of film and television on travel to the West - opportunities that spare you the burden and cost of localization and translation. Actionable items:

  • Destinations: Support your state/region/city film board.
  • Businesses: Actively pursue "product placement" in films and videos - online and offline.

Regarding Airbnb - note that:

  • Chinese law re privacy and information disclosure have forced Airbnb to create a dedicated Chinese subsidiary and to store all Chinese data in China.
  • All Airbnb data associated with properties in China are by law shared with the Chinese government, including:
    • Host data: names, addresses, pricing, revenues, etc.
    • Guest data: identities of guests - citizens or foreigners - must be reported to the government within 24 hours of arrival.
  • Airbnb has invited any hosts who are unhappy with these conditions to deactivate their listings.

China is a tough market in which to compete, but with 84M outbound trips to destinations outside Greater China in 2018, it can't be ignored.


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David Boggs    - David
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