James Liang, Trip.com Group's Executive Chairman of the Board said at the group’s 20th anniversary celebration that the Group’s long-term goal is to become Asia's No. 1 online travel company in three years, the world's top online travel company in five years and the most valuable and respectable online travel company in 10 years.
After a global buying spree, the Trip.com Group has established a strong presence in Asia and Europe. Ms. Jane Sun, the Group’s CEO, said 5.2 billion people are aware of its brand portfolio, equivalent to 70% of the global population.
International business will no double become a new growth engine for the Trip.com Group.
Transportation: winning IATA licenses for ticketing at 11 overseas destinations
The Group announced last year that it was granted IATA licenses in seven overseas destinations, and then expanded the service area to 11 destinations this year. It expects to secure 13 more licenses in Europe to cover a bigger market.
Mr. Yidong Tan, COO of Airline Business Unit, pointed out that the Group has connected with more than 300 air ticketing suppliers at home and more than 100 suppliers in 46 global markets, mostly in Southeast Asia and Europe.
ChinaTravelNews learned that international flight tickets account for 30% of the Group’s total booking volume currently, while the volume of non-China related flight tickets is about one-third of the total international ticket sales.
“Trip.com Group has achieved triple-digit growth in non-China related air ticketing bookings for 11 consecutive quarters, due to our application of the ATPCO computing engine and other solutions to tackling technical problems.”
Accommodation: channeling traffic from ticketing business
Mr. Ruiliang Chen, CEO of Trip.com Group's accommodation business unit, said: “We have more than 3000 travel suppliers, and directly contracted with 400,000 hotels globally. Trip.com is currently available to customers in 19 languages and 6 EBK languages.”
He added that 31% of Trip.com’s airline ticket customers and 22% of train ticket customers also needed to book hotels. “We have 41,000 hotels listed in packages tours (Transportation and hotel products), which will secure 12% more traffic and increase GMV by 17%,” he said.
Vacation: broadening global cooperation and transaction tools
According to Trip.com Group’s financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2019, revenue from accommodation reservation was RMB3.4 billion (US$497 million), up 21%; while that of transportation ticketing was also RMB3.4 billion (US$496 million), up 13%, packaged-tours grossed RMB1.1 billion (US$153 million), up 25%, and corporate travel netted RMB309 million (US$45 million), up 21% .
Speaking in closing, Mr. Tao Yang, CEO of the leisure travel business unit said that 25,000-plus travel agencies have used Trip.com Group’s platforms for online booking, 80% of which are small and medium-sized merchants, covering more than 2,000 cities in 100 countries. The platform also has more than 7,000 suppliers providing cruises, tickets, communications and other services among the travel agencies. Trip.com Group has currently opened 7,400-plus offline stores under its three main brands in more than 290 cities and 382 counties.
“The Trip.com Group has blossomed into the largest group tour booking platform in the domestic market. The transaction volume has exceeded 25 billion yuan in the first 10 months of this year,” he said.
But the vacation business still faces challenges. At the Q2 conference call, Ms. Sun pointed out that outbound travel to Hong Kong and Taiwan, which accounted for about one-third of total Chinese outbound travelers, was likely to remain relatively weak in the second half of this year. In addition, based on the TravelSky report, the average price of outbound air tickets dropped about 7.5 percentage points year-on-year in July, as a result of softer demand and uncertainties in the macro environment.
This underscores the importance of internationalization of its vacation business. “With a wide range of destination products and expansion in global markets, we can mitigate the risks of uncertainties in certain regions,” Mr. Yang added. (Translated by Elena)