>> The road to recovery for China’s travel industry is still littered with uncertainties though there are early signs of rebound. Travel executives in China all pointed to the effectiveness of offering advance purchase options through live streaming events in their recovery strategies.
The live streaming sales approach has become more popular in the travel industry since the virus outbreak. Mr. James Liang, chairman of China’s largest online travel company Trip.com Group, had his live streaming debut on March 23 at Atlantis Sanya and reportedly generated 10-million-yuan (USD 1.4 million) advance purchases for accommodation within an hour.
>> The Chinese OTA titan's latest 20-F annual filing shows that Trip.com Group's major investors including Baidu and Booking Holdings both took a step back by lowering their stakes in the company in the last 12 months, each for different causes. While Naspers Limited, a major stakeholder of Tencent, acquired a 5.5% stake in Trip.com Group through a share swap regarding India's online travel group MakeMyTrip last year.
Operation data show that three of Trip.com Group's four major operation lines, accommodation, transportation and packaged tours, have all seen a slowdown in revenue growth for the past five years.
>> Hangzhou-based GreenCloud, a major PMS provider in China, has been invested by Trip.com Group, ChinaTravelNews learned. All major PMS providers in the country now have OTA investors following this deal:
Beijing-headquartered hotel system provider Shiji received a strategic investment from Alibaba in 2014. Beijing-based Jointwisdom was formed by merging Trip.com Group’s subsidiaries. Travel agency Tongcheng-Elong invested in Zhuzhe, Yunzhanggui and Haozhanyou. Meituan-Dianping invested in PMS provider for alternative accommodation Fanqiele in 2015, and later fully acquired Shanghai-based hotel PMS provider BeyondHost in 2018.
>> Shanghai Disney Resort recently updated that a slight alteration has been made with regards to the use of health QR Codes for entering the resort's limited operation areas including the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, Disneytown and Wishing Star Park. Guests were previously only required to use the health QR codes upon entering dining venues, but now they are required resort-wide.
After learning about China's strict measures in virus containment, the world's biggest theme-park operator could be taking its guests' temperatures at entrance when it returns to business, according to Disney's executive chairman Bog Iger.
>> As China slowly eases lockdown restrictions and life returns to somewhat normal conditions, residents have once again started traveling. But an uptick in domestic sight-seeing doesn't necessarily mean international travel will rebound as quickly. According to a survey of 15,000 people across 100 cities in China at the end of March, 90% the people would prefer to travel domestically, with destinations like Yunnan, Hainan island and Shanghai sweeping the top three preferences.
>> Hotel room nights sold in China through online platforms rose 26.7% to 806 million in 2019, according to data monitoring firm Trustdata. Third- and lower-tier cities led the growth, contributing 60% to the total online hotel booking volume, with monthly active users up by 54.7%.
Meituan increased its share in China’s online hotel market to 51.7% in H2 2019 after selling 110 million room nights for two consecutive quarters in H2 and the total hotel room nights for the year increased 38.2% to 392 million in 2019. The Tencent-backed lifestyle services provider has recorded 49.8% of the total domestic room nights reserved online in H2, exceeding the combined total of Ctrip, Qunar and Tongcheng-eLong for the first time.
>> The world's largest hotel group Marriott expects its global RevPAR to decline by 23% in the first quarter of 2020. Some 25% of the company’s over 7,300 hotels are temporarily closed. Marriott expects that its RevPAR dropped 60% worldwide in March and that RevPAR in Greater China declined 83% in the time. But more recently leisure and regional transient demand are driving the RevPAR improvement in Greater China.
>> GreenTree Hospitality Group, a major hotel management group in China, posted a 20.6% increase in its annual revenue to USD 156.8 million in 2019. The Company had 93.5% of room nights sold directly last year, with a RevPAR of RMB 137 (USD 19.4), up by 2.0% from 2018.
>> Hundreds of hotels in Wuhan have teamed up on an open letter calling on the local government to issue financial assistance after they provided free accommodation for medical workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic. These hotels have collectively provided 200,000 nights of free stays for healthcare workers, valued in total at more than USD 2.83 million.
>> After a “significant increase” in room occupancy in China during the tomb-sweeping festival holiday, top hotel chains are looking forward to the upcoming Labour Day weekend, which could bring the coronavirus-stricken industry a step closer to recovery. During the Qingming holiday from April 4 to 6, hotel chains Accor and IHG saw a significant increase in occupancy levels as nearly all hotels across the country reopened for business.
>> Carnival Corp. chief Arnold Donald said China might be among the first areas where cruise lines start sailing again as the coronavirus pandemic eases. It’s logical for China to be among the first regions to restart sailing because it is starting to open up to some types of social gatherings. Before the pandemic, China had been an important source of growth for Carnival. It had expected to base 5% of its fleet there in 2020.