Strong corporate demand from domestic enterprises in China‚Äôs second- and third-tier cities like Chongqing, Xiamen and Zhuhai is fuelling double-digit growth for Ctrip’s business events sector.
China‚Äôs largest online travel agency set up its business travel department in 2006 to cater to growing demand for incentive programmes, senior-level conferences and team travel trips, said Oscar Huang, head, West and South China, Ctrip MICE, adding that the business unit is eyeing leadership position not only in market share, but also in the introduction of new technology and the setting of industry standards.
‚ÄúThe market is not yet mature. There is an unbalanced supply-demand relationship and the coexistence of various service modes,‚ÄĚ Huang noted. Ctrip MICE, he continued, will be looking at offering a one-stop approach and will be driving innovation with the use of technology to cater to this highly customised market segment.
Huang, who is also senior account director, pointed out that the Ctrip MICE website can be used on mobile, PC and Mac platforms, making it convenient, efficient and easy to use.
Meanwhile, Ctrip sister company Qunar ‚Äď which provides real-time searches and instant comparisons for more than 4,190 online travel agencies, 600 airlines, 1.1 million hotels, and chauffeured car service in 246 cities ‚Äď is taking baby steps to tap the business events segment.
Its business development director, Yan Zhao, said corporate business transactions so far have been typically conducted ‚Äúoffline‚ÄĚ, and based on personal relationships, where Qunar will connect a booker looking for between 30 and 100 air tickets to an airline or wholesaler.
According to Huang, the GBTA reports that China‚Äôs business events market is worth a trillion dollars, and Zhao agreed there is potential for the meta-search/hybrid-OTA to pursue the business if the ‚ÄúROI is high enough‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúFor now, we are focusing on delivering ‚Äėquality and quantity‚Äô low-cost products and services to our current customers who are primarily millennials,‚ÄĚ she commented.