Hotel chain operator Huazhu Hotels Group has launched a flagship store on Pinduoduo, making its 2,000 hotels accessible to the social e-commerce platform’s 568.8 million monthly active users, Pinduoudo confirmed with KrASIA on Monday.
This is the first time that a hotel chain operator in China has opened such an online booking channel on Pinduoduo, which mainly sells groceries.
Under Pinduoduo’s RMB 10 billion (USD 1.4 billion) subsidy plan, three-night stays at Huazhu’s Ji Hotel and Orange Hotel are priced starting from RMB 480 (USD 70) to RMB 765 (USD 110) across China, which is at least RMB 144 (USD 21) cheaper than same package sold elsewhere. A total of 1,215 Pinduoduo users have booked such hotel stays by Monday afternoon.
“Pinduoduo’s entry into the hotel sector is bad news for Trip.com and Meituan, but the effect is likely not large”, Cecilia Xu, an analyst with 36Kr Research, told KrASIA on Monday.
She explained that Trip, which is China’s largest online travel agency, is mainly in the high-end hotel sector, an area hard for Pinduoduo to tap, while Meituan, which focuses on middle-to-low-end hotels, is more efficient than Pinduoduo in attracting hotel suppliers as its strong promotional team recruits both restaurants and hotel operators at the same time.
Pinduoduo’s entry comes at a time when China’s hospitality industry, which was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, now shows signs of recovery.
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