Ctrip, the largest online travel agent in Asia, and the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, or COTRI, jointly released a new travel report today at the 2019 ITB China trade fair in Shanghai. The report examines the trends of Chinese outbound travelers who are opting for more high-end customized travel.
In order to meet the highly personalized travel demands of Chinese travelers, Ctrip’s Customized Travel unit was established in January 2016. As the concept of high-end customized travel has gone mainstream in China, in March 2019, Ctrip’s Customized Travel launched a platform designed especially for high-net-income individuals. The platform serves Chinese high-end customers who are increasingly interested in top-quality services and the exclusive use of highly scarce resources. As seasoned travelers who regard travel as a major leisure activity, they are actively in search of services, resources and experiences that are high-quality, unique and niche. Flexible with their time and not bound by cost issues, these customers highly value exclusivity and privacy during their travel experiences.
According to the report, women, couples and those in the 31-40 age group were the most likely demographics to book high-end customized travel packages overseas. The top 10 most popular destinations were Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Maldives, USA, Australia, France, Singapore, UAE and Italy.
In 2018, the number of orders on the platform increased 180% compared to the year before. Although Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou are the top three local markets with the highest demand for high-end customized travel, the growth rate of orders from second and third-tier cities such as Xi’an and Tianjin surpassed that of first-tier cities. Ctrip’s data show that the average expenditure per person on a high-end customized travel package was RMB 23,800 (USD 3,410).
The demand for unique activities such as helicopter tours, fine dining, attendance of special sporting events such as FIFA World Cup and unique accommodation arrangements such as island resorts reflects ongoing interest in higher end, more tailored experiences in the Chinese travel market.
Jonathan Xie, General Manager of Customized Travel Business, hopes that efficient connections can be built amongst customers, businesses and travel providers, stating: “The aim of Ctrip’s Customized Travel Platform 3.0 is to make travel easy, in any location, in any way our clients want to make their trip.”