Company also Expands Reach at other End, Acquiring 5,000 Agency Stores in China
Last July, the Inbound Report cited a report in ChinaMoneyNetwork.com, which said, “Ctrip is now the absolute monopolistic force in online travel in China. One anonymous analyst jokingly describes it as holding a 100 percent market share.” According to data on one research site, as of mid-December 2015, the company had a 43.1 percent share of the online travel market in China.
And now, Ctrip has moved into the USA in a major way. Last week, on Oct. 26 in New York City, the company signed a strategic partnership agreement with two USA-based receptive tour operators in an effort to increase Chinese tourism to the United States. The receptives are:
Ctour, (formerly Seagull Holiday), which is also based in Los Angeles and offers a wide range of USA product and has the largest Visit USA market share on the West Coast; and
Universal Vision, (formerly L&L Travel Enterprises) a New York-based receptive tour operator with a strong presence in mid-Atlantic states and the U.S. East Coast in general.
Combined, the two companies account for more than half the market share of travel packages sold to Chinese visiting the U.S. They will now have access to C-trip’s estimated 250 million-plus users.
Also included in the partnership last week is Tours for Fun, a Los Angeles-based OTA that caters predominantly to Chinese visitors to the USA. It was acquired by Ctrip in December 2013. Tours for Fun doesn’t book direct; it books through Ctrip.
The announcement overheated the smartphones of tour and travel industry professionals as text messages and e-mails bounced back and forth, with rampant speculation as to the impact the arrangement will have on the inbound travel from the China market. (The Inbound Report will do an in-depth report on the impact of the arrangement in our next issue).
The New York City announcement came a little more than a week after Ctrip and Chongqing-based Overseas Tourist Group, operator of online and mobile travel booking platform Traveling Bestone, jointly announced the signing of a strategic investment partnership agreement, under which Ctrip will acquire a controlling stake of Traveling Bestone.
With the move, Ctrip and Traveling Bestone will fully partner on vacation travel services, and Ctrip will gain access to more than 5,000 offline storefronts located in second- and third-tier mainland Chinese cities. Ctrip and Traveling Bestone will also partner on product development, resource purchasing, sales channels, and travel consultant cultivation.