CHINESE travel agency Ctrip officially launched an online booking website and mobile app for the Hong Kong market last week.
Cindy Wang, CFO of Ctrip, said: “The Hong Kong market is no stranger to us as we set up a branch office here in 1999. We are positive about the Hong Kong market as its (outbound) departure rate is the top for Asia and the penetration rate of mobile phones is high, over 60 per cent, when compared to other Asian countries.
“In China, more than 50 per cent of our hotel bookings are generated by mobile apps. This explains why our business model has kept on evolving in the last few years, from OTA to MTA (mobile travel agency).”
Although Ctrip.com.hk’s content mirrors the China version, the Hong Kong version is in traditional Chinese, offers special discounts and waives transaction fees. The app will feature mobile-only hotel prices dangling discounts of up to 50 per cent off. A Cantonese hotline will be added in April.
From February 17 to April 18, users will earn a HK$40 (US$5) coupon rebate for their first booking on the site via both WAP and app, or HK$20 on desktops.
Asked if the new website and app pits Ctrip directly against sister OTA Wing On Travel, Wang said: “Wing On deals with group tours and is locally well-known for its leisure products but Ctrip…focuses more on business travel. The two will complement each other as brother and sister.”