Ctrip launches updated platform for customized travel

By Yang Feiyue ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-05-13 07:28:10

China's largest online travel agency Ctrip has recently launched a new version of its customized tour platform.

The platform is to cater to the surging demand for tailored travel experiences, and to bag a bigger slice of the market, says Xu Zhiyun, the general manager of Ctrip's tailored tour services.

A desire to make travel experiences more personal is propelling more Chinese to take customized tours. And privacy, tailored arrangements and one-on-one services have pushed the number of customized trips booked through Ctrip to 80,000 a month, the travel agency says.

Customizers typically help travelers save time, optimize resources and avoid tourist traps.

"These tours are not necessarily expensive, and sometimes they end up cheaper, considering the time spent on researching and making your own itinerary," says Xu.

The idea is to get as close to the customers' expectations as possible within their budget, she says.

Ctrip expects the number of tailored trips to surge to 120,000 this year.

Meanwhile,many travel agencies, including startups, are flocking to the expanding themed tour business, but big travel agencies hold the edge with their abundant resources, says expert.

As of now, the Ctrip platform has more than 1,200 service providers and 4,000 trip customizers.

And compared with its previous platform that went live in January 2016, the new platform is more customer-friendly.

Ctrip launches updated platform for customized travel

Also, users and trip customizers can now choose each other.And, the match rate is currently at 93 percent, says Ctrip. Users of the platform can also see cost breakdowns - plane tickets, hotels and transportation.

Separately, tourist industry sources say the market is extremely diverse and small companies have plenty of opportunities to thrive.

But although the profit margins from customized tours is higher than traditional travel arrangement, high labor costs and difficulties in getting bulk orders are among things that stand in the way of entrepreneurs.

Tailored trips from Beijing surged 240 percent year-on-year in 2016, Ctrip says.

And affluent Chinese aged between 30 and 39 are the main force energizing the trend, the online travel agency says.

As of now, families account for 60 percent of the company's customized tours.

As for future plans, Ctrip plans to offer guests updates of scenic spots and shopping and dining options, Xu says.

(China Daily 05/13/2017 page17)

Editor's Picks
Hot words

Most Popular