Booking Holdings continues to extend its distribution business in China by opening a Booking.com store on Fliggy. The flagship store is still in the debugging stage.
The cooperation with Fliggy comes hard on the heels of the appointment of Marsha Ma as the Managing Director for Booking.com in China. Booking formed a strategic partnership with Spring Airlines in June and integrated their platform resources as well as launched a co-branded aircraft. In addition, Booking has adopted a range of marketing strategies on social media and launched localized products.
“Booking will stick to providing products in tune with the local situation and make adjustment based on the unique characteristics of China.” Marsha Ma told ChinaTravelNews.com in an interview.
Supported by Alibaba's ecosystem, which generates over 550 million active mobile users every month on Alibaba’s retail marketplaces, Fliggy boasts an extensive base of customers, which is a major factor that pulled in Booking.com. The latest development shows that Fliggy is popular with foreign travel brands not only because its potential in boosting transaction volume, but also it can extract value from heavy traffic flow by leveraging cloud computing, data and technology.
“BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) have a formidable presence in China’s Internet community and they form their own ecosystems with their own data and networks,” said Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking Holdings. “However, OTAs like Booking.com and hotels also have their own networks of travelers and suppliers which boosts the development of foreign travel brands.”
Instead of directly competing with local OTAs, Booking Holdings entered the China market mainly by establishing cooperation with several local companies. The key considerations are the traffic portals, customer value and local experience accumulated by its partners.
Booking Holdings has increased its stake in Ctrip and worked closely with the Chinese OTA in hotel distribution in the past few years.
As for investment in Didi, Booking Holdings' brands can offer on-demand car service through their apps powered by DiDi, and DiDi customers have the option to book hotels through Booking.com or Agoda.
After Booking Holdings’ investment in Meituan last year, Agoda has also collaborated with Meituan in hotel business. It’s worth keeping track of what Booking Holdings’ next move will be and what will become of its relationship with Ctrip.