According to the data in 2017 Q4 Quarterly Monitoring Report on China’s Market of Online Holiday Travelissued by Analysys, the transaction scale of China's online holiday travel hit RMB 19.49 billion, representing 17.6 % year-on-year growth but 38.5% quarter-on-quarter decline.
Analysys held that the transaction scale of online holiday travel shrank due to seasonal factors in the 4thquarter. As both National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival fell in the quarter, outbound tourism boomed, rendering online holiday travel market more vibrant and interesting.
The development features of the market in 2017Q4：
1. Enjoying Mid-Autumn Festival during the tour around or the trip to overseas islands
In the 4thquarter, National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival together lengthened travel time and stimulated domestic self-driving tour and outbound travel, indirectly expanding the average travel radius. Consequently, internet, big data, and other high-tech companies made it possible to delivery tailored products/services for customers. With respect to the change of major travel forces, the enterprises, with focus on family and customization, started from relevant points and designed a rainbow of products to satisfy different user needs. Customized products like parent-child study tour and niche islands emerged in succession. For instance, among other things, Tuniu promoted “Island Day”, initiated 2017 Large Island Road Show, launched Anti-Season Island Tour in Autumn and Winter, and issued island travel guide, making such travel a continuous hit; Caissa and Top Training jointly launched parent-child study tour to Kazakhstan in close accordance with prevalent topics including “parent-child”, “education”, and “the Belt and Road Initiative”.
2. With lingering investment fever, the companies continued overseas layout
In the quarter, investment fever lingered. Joyu, the parent company of Lvmama, again received the investment of RMB 2.633 billion.
With respect to outbound travel, Ctrip designed the smart tourist spots in the Middle East in cooperation with Latvia; Tuniu increased the input of online content to activate the content gene, in an attempt to offer convenience for customers through both content and tools and to serve more customers. Visa, as the first censorship for exit, was also the focus of the competing companies. In particular, Caissa created the professional visa sub-brand, called “Visa to the World”, Ctrip’s visa system won a national patent, and Fliggy Online Visa Center made a stage pose on November 11.
Meanwhile, the companies continued innovation, with a hope to identify industrial needs and to seek new business opportunities. However, against this new consumption pattern where customers are skew towards customized products, experience depends on service, and expected gap determines public reputation, leading companies have built-in advantages in constructing big-data application scene. Long-term and large-scale data accumulation can help a company gain an insight into the trends and seize the opportunity. For example, the layout by Ctrip, Fliggy, Tuniu, and Caissa was a response to the change in user needs.
The market shares in 2017Q4:
1. The First Echelon
In the 4thquarter of 2017, Tuniu and Ctrip respectively ranked the first and second with 27.51% and 23.01% market shares. With obviously leading advantages and significant concentration effects, they pertained to the first echelon.
Following the profits realized in the preceding quarter, Tuniu tried harder, continuously enhanced its construction of sales, service, and smart network, and launched in-depth layout of the places of departure and destinations, realizing continuously increasing market shares, up to 27.51%. In particular, its retail platform was further opened up to the merchants of theme and customized travel, so as to enrich destinations; in addition, its live-broadcasting platform, WeChat app (Travel Strategy), and improved service of Niu Gen Ban went alive to boost multi-scene service ability, which can ensure both in-depth match with travel needs and good performance.
Ctrip recorded RMB 4.485 billion worth of online holiday travel in the 4thquarter of 2017. The Trip.com acquired in this quarter will cooperate with Tianxun.com to deliver personalized recommendations for users. Following a series of overseas acquisitions, it now began to integrate its resources, with a hope to drive business growth through synergistic effects.
2. The Second Echelon
LY.COM and Lvmama were classified under the second echelon, with their market shares in the quarter respectively as 14.12% and 13.91%.
In this quarter, LY.COM’s market shares witnessed a slight fluctuation due to seasonal factors. But at the end of the period when it and eLong announced a combination, it gradually integrated their membership system and obtained the access to WeChat. Such positive factors will safeguard its development.
In this quarter, Joyu, the parent company of Lvmama, announced its refinancing worth of RMB 2.633 billion, built “Healthy Travel Union” with Fengsheng and Songtsam, and established strategic cooperation with Star Home Shopping, commencing an era integrating media retailing and travel. A series of its actions focused on IP and was laid stress on “travel+”. Meanwhile, the whole-industry-chain layout of Joyu, ranging from scenic spots to marketing, will empower Lvmama. In turn, Lvmama can help the group improve the efficiency of diverse businesses and increase revenues.
According to Analysys, with the booming of outbound travel market and the understanding of user refinement operation by the companies, they optimized product structure while continuously increasing product inventory, so as to enhance profitability. On the other hand, the companies placed a high value on online and offline combination because of their attention to user experience and loyalty to user stickiness and marketing channels. Such interaction between customers and companies were promoting quality upgrade in this field.