Trip.com Group, China’s largest travel agency, is looking for more acquisitions, especially companies that will introduce new ways of thinking and boost management capability.
Outside China, Google is the single company associated with potentially forcing a structural change on online travel agencies (OTAs) and the wider distribution environment, according to Xing Xiong, executive vice-president of Trip.com Group, which acquired Skyscanner in 2016.
“Google is a big threat…Look at what is happening in North America,” Xing said at IATA’s Airline Industry Retailing Symposium in Bangkok last year. “When we meet with the Skyscanner team, they are under the same threat. Google is not as dominant in Europe yet, so they’re in a little better positioning.” Xing, who is also CEO of Trip’s flight ticket division, singled out Google’s one-stop-shop capability – including travel booking, calendar and apps – as what consumers want.
Trip.com Group is still interested in acquisitions, not simply for market share but also know-how. “We are not global enough. We know that. Our management do not have the capacity to really go beyond at the speed we want, so careful and diligent acquisition is part of our strategy,” Xing said.
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