Report Overview

The following report is equally an analysis of Ctrip’s strategic and financial path and a study of the Chinese online travel market. Given Ctrip’s dominance of the industry in China, it is crucial to understand what they are doing to decipher the broader trends shaping the future.

As part of our primary research, we spent several weeks in Asia, including time at Ctrip headquarters meeting with management and specialists at the company. We attended the ITB China conference, visited the local offices of several hotel companies, and spoke with two of the most respected private equity investors in China. Given the complexities of the market in China, these interviews, which are included in the report, are even more crucial than usual. We also partnered with three companies to provide data and insights. YipitData provides us with granular reservation, room night, and property numbers. ForwardKeys offers flight booking trends for multiple countries in Asia, Europe, and North America for both inbound and outbound travel. Finally, Dragon Trail Interactive provided us with broad insights on the outbound market.

What follows is a 45,000-word report including interviews from the entire C-suite at Ctrip, executives from Skyscanner, TripAdvisor, and leading global hotel chains, and investors, along with data and research collaboration with specialists. China is a complex market, but has immense opportunities (and risks) for the travel industry.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • Overview of Ctrip’s products and strategy
  • In partnership with YipitData, reservation, property, and room data for China, Africa, Asia ex-China, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico and Central America, the Middle East, Oceania, South America, and the U.S.
  • How Ctrip uses two types of agency models – guaranteed allotment and on-request
  • Air travel trends in China
  • In partnership with ForwardKeys, inbound and outbound booking data for Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, Australia, U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Spain, Germany, and Italy
  • What caused the Qunar airline boycott and how it was resolved
  • Why Ctrip strategically invested in bus operators in the U.S.
  • Mobile and online penetration trends in China
  • Takeaways from our trip to Asia
  • Ctrip’s financial trajectory and our valuation framework
  • Rationale and impact of key M&A transactions both through public financial filings and management interviews
  • The story of how the Skyscanner deal came about and closed via a lengthy interview with Skyscanner’s CFO
  • Why we expect margin to ramp as Ctrip integrates Qunar and eLong and mitigates aggressive price competition
  • Behind the scenes look at the Qunar and eLong investments from two of the leading private equity investors in China
  • Trends across domestic, inbound, and outbound travel
  • Ctrip market share estimates
  • WeChat and broader outbound data, analysis, and strategy via our partnership with Dragon Trail Interactive
  • The rapid rise and fall of outbound travel to South Korea as a case study on the risk and rewards of outbound Chinese travel
  • What the “BAT” (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) companies are doing in travel directly and through investments
  • A look at two key competitors in and Meituan-Dianping
  • The current value of the financial stake by Priceline and our expectations for the partnership
  • Expedia’s divestment of eLong and what that means for its China strategy
  • How TripAdvisor is focusing almost exclusively on the higher-end outbound travel market
  • Broad China travel insights from leading hotels including Marriott, Peninsula Hotels, Hyatt, Hilton, and Wyndham

Executives Interviewed

  • Jane Jie Sun, CEO, Ctrip
  • Cindy Xiaofan Wang, CFO, Ctrip
  • Maria Sun, COO, Ctrip
  • Colin McLellan, CFO, Skyscanner
  • Steven Pang, General Manager, China, Skyscanner
  • Daniel Pan, Chief of Staff, China, TripAdvisor
  • Jixun Foo, Managing Partner, GGV Capital
  • Tony Jiang, Co-Founder & Partner, Ocean Link
  • Lawrence Ng, Vice President, Sales & Marketing for Greater China, Marriott International
  • Frank Sanders, General Manager, Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre
  • Jin Qian, Area President, Greater China and Mongolia, Hilton
  • William Zhao, VP, Development & Strategic Alliances, Wyndham Hotel Group
  • Rieko Kibe, Director of Marketing, East China, Peninsula Hotels
  • Cecilia Lui, Regional Director of Communications, China, Peninsula Hotels
  • Gloria Lu, Area Director of Sales and Marketing, Korea, Hyatt
  • George Cao, Co-Founder & CEO, Dragon Trail Interactive
  • Michaela Mentasi, Marketing Director, Dragon Trail Interactive
  • Roy Graff, Managing Director, EMEA, Dragon Trail Interactive
  • Dylan Zhang, CEO, Varitrip
  • Thomas Griffiths, Director of Distribution, Varitrip
  • Nicola Farronato, CEO and Founder, B-Sm@rk