GZL changes leadership amid O2O transition
Amid its O2O transition, GZL president Jianxu Lu will step down and Lingnan Group vice president Zhujun Zhang will take his position.
Leading Guangdong tour operator GZL is taking the lead among major traditional travel agencies to transition to the OTA model as OTAs are gaining ground with advantages of high integration, good customer experience, attractive pricing, and innovative operation despite lacks in travel products and tour guides.
Amid the transition, GZL president Jianxu Lu announced on January 14 he will step down for personal reasons, and Lingnan Group vice president Zhujun Zhang will take his position.
Mr. Lu admitted late last year that GZL was too localized and lacked variety in departure points, making it little known outside of the region, although it was ranked the second largest tour operator nationally.
As a counter-measure, he proposed expansion through acquisitions and geographic integration of the operation by setting up product centers in the western, eastern and northern regions of Guangdong province to cover the three major city clusters of Guangzhou-Foshan-Zhaoqing, Jiangmen-Zhongshan-Zhuhai and Dongguan-Shenzhen-Huizhou.
He envisaged branching out through acquisitions from Guangdong to first- and second-tier metropolitan areas in Eastern China, Xian, Shanxi and Hainan. GZL would then leverage superior resources such as branding, licensing, sales networks and customer bases of acquired companies.
As to whether Mr. Lu’s departure will affect GZL’s development plans, CI Consulting researcher Zheyan Shen anticipates little impact as Mr Lu’s successor was previously GZL’s CEO and president and is familiar with its strategy and operations.
Before taking the reins of GZL, Mr. Zhang has already stated that GZL will follow through with its acquisitions strategy. “GZL will accelerate acquisition restructures, integration development and nationwide distribution in 2015. GZL will accelerate regional expansion via a variety of methods including acquisition, holdings and management partnerships. We hope to expand beyond southern China to double our growth, form market groups, open more departure points and more O2O visa centers,” he said in an open press letter. （Translation by David )