Online travel booking on the up

Users of online hotel booking services climbed  20 percent in the second quarter with lower-tier cities a major growth driver, according to mobile data research firm TrustData.

Online hotel booking users climbed 20 percent to 91.09 million in the second quarter, with lower-tier cities becoming a major growth driver, according to a recent report by mobile data research firm TrustData.

About half of online hotel bookings came from third-tier or lower cities in June, where further growth potential and fierce competition will take place in the future.

Lifestyle platforms such as Meituan Dianping and Alibaba's retail site Taobao have also accumulated new users in the competitive online environment.

Meituan's online hotel booking businesses ranked first by both order volume and room nights in the second quarter with 46.2 percent market share, and Ctrip is also expanding to offer various travel-related services.

Alibaba's online travel site Fliggy, and Tencent-backed Meituan Dianping, are actively promoting low-frequency travel services on top of their core online shopping and daily lifestyle services, leveraging the large user bases accumulated via online shopping and food delivery. They also tend to appeal to younger consumers who tend to have more spare money to spend.

The report also points out that the key to becoming a successful hotel booking platform is to fulfill the demands of the new generation and to retain young users. Millennials are searching for one-of-a-kind destinations and activities which offer a unique travel experience, it said.

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