There is no developing market moving at the same pace as China. The country, which already boasts the largest motoring market in the world, is now growing rapidly as an online travel market.
To emphasise the point, shares in Elong, China’s second largest online travel firm catapulted by 75 per cent in New York after Tencent, China’s biggest online company, and Expedia, both bought stakes in the firm. Expedia paid $41.2million to increase its stake in the company to 56 per cent – making it the largest shareholder.
Why is China important?
Expedia president and chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi described China as a “key region from a strategic perspective”. Meanwhile, Tencent, which has 674million users, is making its first step into the online travel market.
Travel is on the rise in the country, making online travel firms an attractive investment. The top online travel company in the country – Ctrip.com – saw its profits leap by 23 per cent between January and March thanks to increased revenues from both flight and hotel reservations. Indeed the Shanghai based company also reported a net income of $234.9million yuan – £22million.
However, it’s not just in China where the online travel industry is booming. An increased number of customers in the UK, Ireland and across Europe are turning to online bookings to save cash. Many companies offer reduced rates online because of the savings they make on overheads – and there can be further reductions available by using comparison websites to compare flight and hotel costs from different companies; and by taking advantage of online promo codes.
Travel for savings
Consumers looking for cheap flights – to China or elsewhere – should make sure they use the internet appropriately to capitalise on the savings available.
For cheap scheduled flights, use a screenscraper, which is a form of comparison website. It uses clever technology to find a flight that matches your criteria – all you have to do is enter your details and it will search for the best rates from a number of airlines and flight broker sites. Meanwhile, if you want cheap flights with hotels, then look for flight brokers, which, have direct relationships with airlines and can offer their own competitive deals – these include websites such as Expedia and Lastminute.com. Many screenscrapers will automatically include these flight brokers in their listings, but it can still be worth checking them directly.
Remember to be careful in your approach to holiday extras too. Many companies make money by offering expensive add-ons, such as airline lounge passes and travel insurance. Bear in mind that many of these extras can be bought for less if you buy them separately and there are often promo codes available on websites
Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash