ChinaTravelNews learned that Trip.com Group has invested to build airport-based intelligent travel service platform iSkytrip with the operator of Shanghai airports. The iSkytrip app offers airport information directory, fast parking payment, fast security check, VIP lounge, merchant coupons, airport pick-up and drop-off chauffeur and other services.
Last December, the OTA invested in DragonPass, a Chinese company operating high-end business lounges at airports and high-speed railway stations, reportedly with tens of millions of US dollars.
rip.com Group has set up a new unit to invest in startups and provide investors with consultancy services. The OTA established Xiecheng Entrepreneur Investment on June 3 with USD 14 million in registered capital. Mr. Jay Shen, vice president of the Trip.com Group, serves as legal representative of the new company. The Shanghai-based entity is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trip.com Group.
Chinese social e-commerce firm Pinduoduo is digging deeper into the tourism industry by introducing its own air ticketing business. Last September, Pinduoduo invited travel merchants to use its platform to sell itinerary services, tourist attraction tickets and short-haul tours, as well as accommodation deals from hotels, guest houses and inns. In December, Pinduoduo launched a railway ticketing service.
Chinese online travel service platforms including Fliggy, Meituan and Trip.com Group have been developing membership programs for independent hotels in the country for the past year, attracting more guests to these small hotels while strengthening their own influence on the hospitality industry. Smaller hotels are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus impact and that may present an opportunity for the online giants to help while growing their own influence.
Global online travel agencies including Booking.Com, Agoda, Expedia and Trip.Com, have submitted to the Korea Fair Trade Commission corrective measures for the abuse of their superior position in the market against Korean lodging companies, offering to delete the "lowest guarantee" clauses in their contracts. Similar cases were reported weeks ago when the OTAs vowed to drop the rate parity terms in Hong Kong.
Major Chinese travel group Caissa Travel said it had walked away from the deal to buy shares of online leisure travel firm Tuniu from e-commerce platform JD.com. Caissa Travel stated that it decided not to close the deal because Tuniu had been losing money, which would have a negative impact on the earnings of publicly listed Caissa Travel.
Trip.com Group's metasearch brand Skyscanner announced that its current CEO Bryan Dove is stepping down for family reasons. Moshe Rafiah, vice chair of Skyscanner and CEO & founder of Travelfusion, will take over as CEO of Skyscanner as well. Trip.com Group took over Travelfusion in 2015 for over USD 100 million and bought Skyscanner for USD 1.75 billion in 2016.
May 2020 is the first ever month in which Chinese airlines operate more passenger jet flights than their US counterparts, according to airline data firm Cirium. Chinese operators had completed nearly 200,000 flights with passenger-configured widebodies, narrowbodies and regional jets, compared with fewer than 170,000 for carriers based in the USA.
China has achieved this milestone because its airlines have recovered to an activity level 35% below last year, whereas US operators remain 74% down as a result of the collapse in passenger demand due to the coronavirus crisis.
The US Transportation Department will relax its previously-announced ban on Chinese passenger flights in the coming days to allow some flights to continue, reported Reuters, citing US government and airline officials.
Washington announced earlier that it intended to bar the Chinese airlines from flying to the United States by June 16 due to China's curbs on US carriers. The announcement was followed by China's decision to ease travel restrictions and allow in more foreign carriers.
Singapore and China plan to reopen essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries early next month. The so-called “Fast Lane arrangement” will be first applied between the Southeast Asian city-state and six Chinese provinces and municipalities - Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang - before being gradually expanded.
GreenTree Hospitality, a major hotel company in China, reported that its first-quarter revenue dropped 33% this year to USD 22 million, having been severely impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19. Net income decreased 110.6% to a net loss of USD 2.0 million. RevPAR plummeted 44.1% and occupancy declined to 47.3% in the quarter. Occupancy rate has rebounded and exceed 65% on average in the second half of May, from a low of 21.5% at the end of January.