With the gradual recovery of hotel and tourism business, more and more people choose to spend their holidays in premium hotels located in short-haul destinations. Tencent-backed Meituan.com, a group-buying website offering both local lifestyle and travel consumer services, has put forward a new solution to combine group buying with hotel bookings.
Meituan recently launched a hotel advance purchase product named “Super Group-Buying”. Guided by China Hospitality Association, Meituan set up a league with 12 hotel groups, including Accor, Club Med, Wanda Hotels and Resorts and Funyard Hotels and Resorts, offering advance purchase of upscale hotel rooms at lower pricing. The inventory would be launched online in advance, so that consumers would be able to buy and redeem at any time for a preferential price.
Meituan will offer these Super Group-Buying listings every Thursday. Hotel operators across China will provide hundreds of millions of yuan in subsidies to consumers to encourage purchasing.
Unlike traditional group-buying activities, the Super Group-Buying product can be redeemed and managed through online self-service, and hotel operators will set daily redeemable inventory and manage them on Meituan’s platform. No staff training about voucher verification or inventory accounting is necessary. For consumers, after buying the product, they can redeem online by themselves, without any help from operators. There will be no after-sale problems caused by unclear contract terms that are commonly seen in offline delivery of group-buying. Consumers can get refund for unused or expired products.
As a new form of hotel advance purchase product, Super Group-Buying effectively addresses typical problems such as over sale and difficulty in rebooking, which not only improves consumer experience, but also plays a positive role in promoting the recovery of hotel businesses, Zhigang Ding, deputy secretary general of China Hospitality Association said.