Mobile apps are becoming increasingly important to China’s travel sector.
A new report from think tank L2 shows the considerable growth hotel apps have brought to the online travel market. Within L2’s index, 60 percent of hotel brands have “some sort of mobile presence,” according to Tnooz, and the online travel market overall is expected to expand by 73 percent through 2018.
Thirty-three of the brands examined in the study have their English language apps featured on China’s app store. Each month, Chinese mobile travel apps reach an incredible 90 million people.
Indeed, a mobile presence is now necessary for hotel brands to succeed in the Chinese market. According to Tnooz, “As internet familiarity rises with broadband penetration, offline travel agencies are losing share to online bookings – a solid opportunity to educate new travelers about travel brands while capturing nascent loyalties.”
Although the service quality of these hotel applications is generally lower than that of online travel agencies (OTAs), there are opportunities for hotel brands to win over some shares from OTAs and “encourage more direct bookings in the Chinese market.”
China’s domestic travel market is set to exceed that of the United States by 2030. With such rapid growth, the hotel industry is also changing. International hotel chains like Hyatt Hotels and Hilton Worldwide are increasing their presences in China; Starwood Hotels, for instance, is projected to double its luxury portfolio in the country by the end of 2015. These brands are tailoring their mobile presences accordingly to draw in Chinese travelers domestically and abroad.
Despite the considerable presence of international brands, however, domestic hotels are also emerging as a power of their own in the market, “undergoing tremendous growth” and potentially competing with international brands in the budget sector.
image credit: iTunes app store