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CNNIC Released the Research Report on the Online Travel Booking Market of China in 2014
2015/07/16 15:04author:
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Recently, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released the Research Report on the Online Travel Booking Market of China in 2014 (hereinafter referred to as the “Report”).The Report showed that as of December 2014, the Internet users who had booked airline tickets, hotels, train tickets or holiday travel products online reached 222 million,or increased 40,96 million compared to as of the end of 2013,with a growth rate of 22.7%.The penetration rate among Internet users increased from 29.3% to 34.2%.At the same time, the scale of users, who had booked airline tickets, hotels, train tickets or holiday travel products by mobile phone, reached 134 million, or increased 88,65 million compared to 2013,with a growth rate of 194.6%. The penetration rate among netizens increased from 9.1% to 24.1%.
From the macro point of view: the overall tourism policy laid a good foundation for the booming of online travel booking market. Following the Outline of National Tourism and Leisure 2013-2020 and the first Tourism Law in China released in 2013, the Opinions of the State Council on Promoting the Reform and Development of the Tourism Industry and the Regulations of Travel Agency Products Operated and Provided on Third-party Network Trading Platforms were released in 2014, which further clarified the importance of the tourism industry to promote the development of people's livelihood and the social economic, and provided reference to rectify and standardize the online travel booking market. At the same time, the GDP per capita of China in 2014 increased to 7485 dollars, and the paid vacation system was further implemented, creating favorable conditions for the development of online travel booking industry from the aspects of money and time.
Based on the favorable environment, the increased competition and many other factors, the users of online travel booking in China reached 222 million in 2014,or increased 40,96 million compared to as of the end of 2013,with a growth rate of 22.7%. Users of mobile online travel booking reached 134 million,or increased 88,65 million compared to in 2013,with a growth rate of 194.6%.Mobile online travel booking became the fastest growing application for mobile terminal. In addition, in 2014 the domestic tourism demand remained mainly the travel in the country. However, the overseas travel market was rapidly warming, and Southeast Asia and other neighboring countries became the first choices of travel abroad.
In the divided fields of the market, the substitution effect was obvious, such as high-speed railway to airplane, mobile phone booking to computer booking, and group purchase to ordinary individual purchase. In 2014 the proportion of users of online air ticket and hotel booking for business trip increased significantly. The users who often chose to travel by high-speed railway accounted for nearly 30%.If the duration of the travel by high-speed railway was within 3-5 hours, 42.8% online travel booking users would choose the travel by high speed railway as their first choice, which reflected the substitution effect of the high-speed railway to the airplane. The users, who preferred to book by mobile phone, accounted for more than 17.5% in each subdivided field of online travel booking, such as air tickets, hotels, holiday travel products, scenic spot tickets, train tickets, etc.. In the field of online hotel booking, the scale of mobile users almost equaled to that of computer users, highlighting the “wireless” prospect of the online travel booking field. In 2014,the proportion of users, who had booked online group-buying travel products, accounted for more than 13.5%. Although at the stage of initial development, the proportion of hotel group purchase reached 81.1% of all group purchase. Hotel group purchase played a supplementary or substitution role for ordinary hotel reservation.
From the perspective of enterprise competition, the online travel booking market showed an oligopoly trend. The user size advantage of Ctrip was obvious, while Qunar possessed the most senior users. A phenomenon could be found by comparing the user stickiness of Ctrip and Qunar. Ctrip had the largest scale of airline ticket booking users, while Qunar possessed the most number of senior airline ticket booking users. Ctrip operated with solid “internal strength”, while Qunar grasped well users’ “pain points”. The proportion of senior users of Qunar was higher than that of Ctrip in the hotel online booking market. Qunar boasted better user experience, and thus its user loyalty was higher. Ctrip had better product database and good marketing service. Thanks to its product database, marketing service, customer service and reputation, Ctrip attracted users in the holiday travel products booking market. The main reason for Qunar to attract users could be attributed to its performance beyond the expectation of customers. In the scenic spot tickets booking market Ctrip and Qunar adopted different competition methods. More specifically, Ctrip competed by the direct "hard power", while Qunar by the indirect "soft power". 
Forecast on the development trend of online travel market in China in 2015: Domestic travel is still the preferred choice for Chinese people; Phone booking will become the mainstream mode; The diversion effect of high speed railway to airplane will promote the rational development of the overall market. According to the Report, in 2015 the tourism demand of Chinese people will still mainly be within the territory of China. With the popularity of the overseas travel, Southeast Asia, especially South Korea will become the most popular tourist resort for Chinese people. In 2015 the scale of mobile phone booking users will increase rapidly. In the background that enterprises energetically develop and promote the wireless terminal, booking at the mobile terminal will become the mainstream development trend. The mutual substitution effect of aircraft and high-speed railway will balance the market development, and thus greatly enhance the user experience, promoting the revolution and innovation of the entire online travel booking market and the transportation industry.

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