China’s home-sharing platform Xiaozhu has recently formed a strategic partnership with Xiaohongshu, a popular lifestyle sharing network for young people. Through the deal, Xiaozhu is connected to the social network portal to provide direct home-sharing booking service. In the future, Xiaozhu will provide services to other home-sharing brands on Xiaohongshu, such as management systems, content and live-streaming campaigns.
Short-distance domestic trips are resuming as Covid-19 is under control in China. During the Dragon Boat Festival, 74% of Chinese travelers chose intra-provincial tours, and 63% of them traveled locally in their cities, according to data from Xiaozhu. Luxury rural homes were very popular vacation rentals.
The demand for short-distance trips is much higher than outbound travel and long-haul domestic trips. Last-minute bookings are very common. The nature of Xiaohongshu with its extensive and constantly updated travel content encouraging quick decision making caters well to the impulsive buying tendency for short-haul travel.
“Xiaohongshu users are young people with social sharing and consumption power. Many of them are also users of Xiaozhu. We hope that through this cooperation in content creation, and the integration of Xiaozhu’s content, channels and marketing capabilities, we can provide better services for property owners and bring them more opportunities to promote their brands and grow business,” said Tarry Wang, co-founder of Xiaozhu.
Value-added service beyond property listings
Currently, Xiaozhu has nearly 100,000 listings of rural shared homes. In the past, users could book homes on Xiaozhu’s WeChat Mini Program. In the partnership with Xiaohongshu, Xiaozhu’s role has expanded from just a home-sharing provider to an aggregator of all related services.
The cooperation is expected to bring more than 2,000 quality shared homes listings to Xiaohongshu, and Xiaozhu will also offer home-sharing brands facilitating services such as free direct connection, official certification and white-label operation.
A business director of Xiaozhu said that the company would be the first platform to provide home-sharing packages on Xiaohongshu. Compared with traditional accommodations, the home-sharing packages offer better value for money, flexible cancellation policy and more diverse product elements such as meals, attraction tickets and in-destination experiences.
New opportunities for home-sharing players
According to a report released by Big Data Research, the number of people who are interested in medium- and short-distance trips has more than doubled since the pandemic, rising from 20.8% to 75.9% of the respondents. Bookings for nearby home-sharing offers have also increased visibly.
The report also pointed out that in the first half of 2020, people relied more on generic content platforms for travel inspiration and decision making than they did on vertical platforms like OTAs’. Xiaohongshu was the most frequently used platform for travel decision-making, with 63.7% of the respondents using it.
Other than Xiaohongshu, short-video sharing platform TikTok has also launched a direct booking portal for shared homes, and its rival Kuaishou is also making preparations. In order to keep their users active, these platforms are making efforts to enrich their content, expand supply channels and facilitate transactions.