Trip.com sees the largest growth in business travel in China’s second cities

Change Take

As for future hotspots for business travel in China, many gems appear in a new report published this week by Trip.Biz, Trip.com’s corporate travel division. It offers agencies a realistic view of the minds of business travelers, as well as opportunities for growth in a country that is ready to recover from severe blockages.

Matthew Parsons

Trip.com, the world’s largest online booking site, will target lower-end cities in China in an effort to increase its share of the corporate travel market.

The premier cities, including the capital Beijing and the Shanghai Mall, are described as “saturated” in a white paper published this week by Trip.Biz, the agency’s online travel agency.

It says there are now more opportunities in smaller cities, especially around digitalisation in a predominantly paper environment, as the country – the world’s largest market for corporate travel – restarts after months of severe blockages.

Online reception

More than 78 percent of business travelers have noticed that lower-level destinations are becoming increasingly popular for business travel, according to the survey.

“This is mainly due to companies moving to new destinations in response to the saturation of the market in higher-level cities and the adaptation of cities,” it said. “Some employers said their business will focus on third- and fourth-level cities in the future as business in big cities becomes more saturated.

The levels are used, informally, as a classification system for businesses to guide their market entry strategy. It can reflect differences in consumer behavior, income levels, population size, consumer sophistication, infrastructure, talent and business opportunities, and as the county grows rapidly, ranking levels have gained popularity as a starting point.

Part of the push is due to the increase in infrastructure construction in developing cities. “Smart city development will increasingly focus on smaller cities, and business travel destinations will follow suit,” said a business traveler in the 87-page White Paper.

Trip.Biz is now seeking to expand its supply chain in third- and fourth-tier cities to gain better resources. It also began providing bus tickets in 2019 to help travelers have access to more remote regions

He, meanwhile, emphasized the potential of travel management companies to help local businesses make travel reservations more efficient.

He found that when it comes to reservation methods in 2021, reservations made by administrative staff for employees still account for 29.1% of all methods, although this is a decline of about 40% in 2020. reservations by employees are only 23.5%.

For the employee’s preferred booking channel, a mobile application was used by 81 percent and an official WeChat account or “mini program” by 62.4 percent, which grew from 29.2 percent in 2020.

In terms of payment channels, 69.2% of employees used Alipay and 60% WeChat, emphasizing the dominance of these companies in the country. Personal credit cards account for 34.4% and company accounts through a travel agency – 16.8%.

To reimburse expenses, 28.8% still use paper forms to claim money from their employer.

New features

In addition to bus tickets, Trip.Biz has released other features that reflect post-pandemic booking habits, including a hotel review tool earlier this year. “As one of its first types in the travel management community, it will enable guests to leave hotel reviews and suggestions and help travelers find suitable hotels quickly,” he said, adding that nearly 70 percent of travelers are influenced by reviews when booking hotels.

Last March, Trip.com mimicked partner Tripadvisor with new content offerings.

Trip.Biz also offers mixed payments to allow employees to book more expensive products that are not covered by their company’s travel policy, allowing them to pay the excess amount themselves. This reflects the growth of so-called leisure trips.

The White Paper also shares some unusual insights for the Chinese business traveler. One in 10 business travelers, for example, takes their own kettle with them, and 30 percent take their own slippers.

With regard to sustainable travel, a majority of 68.8% of employees (worryingly) said that reducing paper travel approvals through online governance is a way to achieve sustainability in business travel management.

Formerly known as Ctrip, Trip.com is the world’s largest online booking site with more than $ 129 billion in travel sales in 2019. The white paper comes just days after Trip.com founder James Liang was banned by China’s Weibo for “violating relevant laws and regulations.”

Trip.Biz is already implementing a global growth strategy based on the Trip.com group’s “Local Focus, Global Vision” approach. “At the heart of this strategy is the efficiency, the choice of products, the quality of services and the services available in the Trip.Biz application,” the statement said.

According to the latest results, revenues from corporate travel increased by 20% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the quarter of the previous year and by 54% for the whole of 2021, compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile, the corporate travel agency CWT opened a bilingual service center in Singapore this week to provide business travel support to overseas employees of major Chinese companies. He will offer companies 24-hour English and Mandarin travel assistance.

“This is in response to the growing demand from Chinese multinational companies, which require convenient and consistent corporate travel for their employees based outside China,” the company said.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.