Ctrip heralds early success of Skyscanner’s direct booking option
Ctrip‘s second quarter earnings release talks about a 50% improvement in mobile conversion rates from the early iterations of Skyscanner’s direct booking business.
Ctrip‘s executive chairman James Liang summarised the rationale for its introduction of direct bookings to Skyscanner, which Ctrip acquired for USD 1.75 billion last November. He said:
“It is a more effective way to convert Skyscanner user traffic while helping its partners to retain the customer relationship and the ability to upsell ancillaries.”
Ctrip itself was one of the early partners selling via the direct booking option. Conversion rates on mobile, he said, were 50% higher for partners using the platform.
This validates previous comments around the importance of keeping mobile users in particular within the mobile-optimised Skyscanner platform, rather than run the risk of losing the customer when they click off to a less-well optimised partner site.
Liang explained that international growth – of which Skyscanner is a key component – was one of its two investment priorities in the near-term. But Ctrip continues to grow its own presence outside China. It has increased its hotel inventory in Asia during the quarter and is ramping up its supply of “local inventory in popular international destinations”.
Ctrip’s other focus is on growing in so-called second-tier cities in China. With an eye on the long term, Liang said that “second tier cities will drive the growth in Chinese travel for the next decade”.
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