What is Ctrip?
Ctrip.com: "China's one stop travel shop" is a leading provider of accommodation reservation, transportation ticketing, package tours , corporate travel management and other travel-related services in China. It has gone through rapid growth since its inception in 1999 and become China’s largest travel company. Below we look into the core functions of Ctrip, explain how you can get your business on their platform and give our verdict on whether Ctrip is a good way to promote your business to the Chinese market. Let's get going!
Ctrip has a comprehensive desktop and mobile experience, however since over 60% of flight and 75% of the hotel bookings are made via mobile, all the screenshots below we will use the mobile version.
- Travel Marketplace
- Travel Albums
- Customer Service
1) Travel Marketplace
This is Ctrip’s core business. When you open the app you are greeted by what looks like a hugely complicated screen full of different options, words and animations. However, once you look carefully you find the designers at Ctrip have somehow managed to pack an incredible amount of functionality into such a small space. Starting at the very top of the screen, where you can select a location, search the whole of Ctrip and check notifications. Lower down a bar with short cuts for travel guides & attractions, tickets and entertainment, food and drink, one day tours and forums. When you click these, they will go to the relevant page for your selected location.
Further down, the red, blue and green grid which dominates the screen provides options for booking hotels, flights and other travel services respectively. Traditionally this great represents the most common functions people use Ctrip for. Below this you will see a series of orange icons, each one shortcut to travel services such as local Wi-Fi, Insurance and visas, souvenir cards and more general buttons such as independent travel. The remainder of the page serves suggestions such as special offers, trending locations and the other campaigns.
The second tab from the left on the bottom of the screen takes you to the “Trip” section. Here you can add flight tickets, Hotel bookings, attractions, train tickets etc into your personalised trip. From here, you can access all the relevant information in chronological order. This section also allows somebody else, for example a company to book tickets on your behalf, while giving you Power to manage them. This requires your account to be verified with a Chinese identity card. The trip can also be imported into your calendar for extra convenience. You do not need to purchase an item to put it on the itinerary. In the example below, we have added Lake Windermere to the itinerary, below this, Ctrip has automatically begun suggesting Hotels and if we swipe right other useful suggestions.
3) Travel Albums
The camera Icon in the middle of the bottom bar takes you to the Ctrip’s travel social media section. Using your account you can follow, consume and post travel related content. As this is not the core function of Ctrip, we think it is unlikely the content on here Will be able to achieve the same reach as it would do on Weibo. However, key advantage of this content is it may be accessed by people who are already going to or who have arrived at the destination, therefore they may be in position to act immediately on the suggestions within the content. We think Ctrip are placing strong emphasis on growing this section of the business, so more users will begin researching their trip on Ctrip as opposed to on external platforms such as Mafengwo.
4) Customer Service
The the second tab from the right is a dedicated customer service page. While we wouldn't usually mention customer service, Ctrip have dedicated Core section of the app to this. Within the customer service section there is an option for urgent support. Ctrip provide 24/7 support for their customers around the world. This is primarily aimed at two categories: a) accidents and injuries during the trip, b) loss of possessions. Users can select options within each of these categories and receive immediate help. Back in the main customer service page, Ctrip also has section for “Trip checklists”. Here you can select your target destination, and Ctrip will generate a checklist which you can export to help you prepare for your trip. There is also a specialist customer service section for small trip leader along with a handy translation tool.
The final tab on the far right bottom of the screen is the user profile. Within here users can edit the profile information, View any saved items or their browsing history and get immediate access to any content they had shared to the Ctrip platform. Below there are also four prominent buttons thinking to booking history, supported payment, upcoming trips and awaiting reviews. Below this and probably deserving of its own detail write up is the Ctrip Wallet section. Here users can link a union pay card directly to their account, top of their balance using other payment methods, receive gift cards and apply voucher codes along with a host of other functions such as currency exchange, borrowing money, Insurance and tax reclaim.
Getting on Ctrip
Getting on Ctrip is not as simple as uploading a few descriptions and images. The most common way for foreign businesses to get on Ctrip is by listing with our popular OTA providers such as booking.com, who have established cooperation with Ctrip. Other methods include appearing via a third-party Chinese tour operator. The Advantages and disadvantages of this largely depend on your relationship with the tour operator. For larger firms with scale, it may be worth your while trying to establish a direct co-operation with Ctrip. This way you can customise offers for the Chinese market, and have further control over your business listing. Please don't hesitate to get if you have any questions about this.
There is no doubt about it Ctrip is one of the first companies which Springs to mind when you mention travel in China. We think it is important for all businesses, especially transport providers and medium to large accommodation providers to understand what presence you currently have on Ctrip. If there are obvious errors, it is sometimes possible to get these changed by contacting Ctrip. If you are interested in Ctrip, we would be delighted to check the presence of your business for free. Simply use the contact button at the top right of our site, and we will send you a short report within 5 days.