Mak­ing room be­yond ho­tels

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS | FOCUS - By FANFEIFEI fanfeifei@chi­

Chi­nese out­bound trav­el­ers are look­ing for new types of ac­com­mo­da­tion. Tra­di­tional ho­tels are passe. Stays at pri­vate apart­ments are in.

That’s cre­at­ing huge op­por­tu­ni­ties for US lodg­ing ser­vices. For in­stance, Airbnb Inc, which op­er­ates a peer-topeer or P2P web­site for ac­com­mo­da­tion shar­ing, has more than 2 mil­lion list­ings and con­nects over 50 mil­lion users in more than 34,000 cities of 190 coun­tries.

The San Fran­cisco-based Airbnb, which was founded in 2008, said it has high hopes for the Chi­nese mar­ket. China is the fastest grow­ing mar­ket for Airbnb be­cause more and more younger Chi­nese trav­el­ers pre­fer a unique trav­el­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, said Var­sha Rao, vice-pres­i­dent of global operations at Airbnb.

The num­ber of Chi­nese out­bound tourists who booked ac­com­mo­da­tion through Airbnb has in­creased by a stag­ger­ing 700 per­cent in 2015, ac­cord­ing to Airbnb.

That has made Airbnb prom­i­nent among the busi­nesses cur­rently rid­ing the shar­ing econ­omy con­cept. Those in­clude Chi­nese lodge-book­ing sites like Zhubai­jia, Tu­jia and Xiaozhu, which are catch­ing up fast, thus driv­ing the growth of this seg­ment in China.

For in­stance, Shen­zhen­based Zhubai­jia goes to great lengths to en­sure apart­ments onits list are of high qual­ity. It also pro­vides a se­ries of val­ueadded ser­vices like air­port pick­ups, car rentals and tick­ets to tourism at­trac­tions.

In 2015, Zhubai­jia’s rev­enue grew 68 times to 45.69 mil­lion yuan ($6.74 mil­lion) from the pre­vi­ous year, with 79 per­cent of it com­ing from the lodg­ing business.

It has more than 250,000 list­ings in 70 coun­tries. The num­ber of users has in­creased by nearly 80 times in 2015 com­pared with 2014.

In April, it listed on China’s New Third Board, which serves as a na­tional share trans­fer sys­tem forSMEsand a source of funds, thus be­com­ing China’s first listed shar­ing-econ­omy com­pany.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion data, 120 mil­lion Chi­nese trav­eled to other coun­tries in 2015, up from 109 mil­lion the pre­vi­ous year.

As for China’s do­mes­tic tourism, there were over 4 bil­lion jour­neys in 2015, gen­er­at­ing a rev­enue of over 4 tril­lion yuan. The ac­com­mo­da­tion-shar­ing seg­ment in China is far from sat­u­rated, in­dus­try ob­servers said.

Tu­, which tar­gets mid­dle- to high-end Chi­nese trav­el­ers, is the in­dus­try leader in the do­mes­tic short-term on­line rental seg­ment. It has a net­work of 430,000 rental prop­er­ties, rang­ing from sin­gle rooms to his­toric farm­houses and coun­try vil­las.

In June, Tu­jia ac­quired, an­other well­known name in China’s house-shar­ing sec­tor, to consolidate its lead­ing po­si­tion in the Chi­nese mar­ket.

“More and more families are ex­pected to shift from book­ing ho­tel rooms dur­ing va­ca­tions to re­serv­ing lodges through on­line plat­forms as non-stan­dard­ized pri­vate apart­ments can bet­ter meet their needs,” said Pan Caifu, vice-pres­i­dent of Xiaozhu, which en­ables users to book spare rooms or apart­ments of oth­ers via an on­line P2P plat­form.

Founded in 2012, theXiaozhu web­site and its ac­com­pa­ny­ing app sawa five­fold jump in­book­ings­be­tween2014and 2015.

rise in the num­ber of Chi­nese out­bound tourists who booked ac­com­mo­da­tion through Airbnb in 2015 rev­enue of Zhubai­jia in 2015

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