Here are China’s top tourism business news stories that you need to know from this week:
WeChat’s Newest Features
- Floating Windows. While reading an article from any subscription/service account, users are now able to minimize the article into a floating window. This allows replying to messages, easier sharing of the article and use of WeChat’s other functions without losing the place on the article.
- On subscription accounts’ homepages, the lower half of the account introduction page now shows the three articles and Mini Programs from the account that are most viewed by your friends.
- On service accounts, the bottom half of the account introduction page shows menu items allowing users to click and directly access the available services.
Click here for other new features (English).
- Mailman X’s Take: These new features are all aimed to retain users and lengthen their usage time. The layout difference between subscription and service accounts further suggests service accounts will provide a more user-friendly experience. This also marks a good time for destinations and brands to revisit how they can incorporate these features.
Booking.com Allies with Spring Airlines to Boost Overseas Travel
Booking.com announced a strategic partnership with Spring Airlines in an attempt to boost outbound trips. The two companies have launched a co-branded painted plane which will cover a wide range of popular domestic and international destinations, with a special focus on Japan and Thailand – the two most popular overseas destinations for Chinese visitors. In return, Booking.com shared and embedded accommodation listings on the Spring Airlines website. Read more on the deal (English).
- Mailman X’s Take: Booking.com is still finding ways to further penetrate into China. Strategically partnering with a local airline could be a significant entry point to challenge the likes of Ctrip and Qunar. Booking.com could end up becoming a key channel to explore over the second half of 2018 as this partnership matures.
Also this week:
Air China Resumes Fuel Surcharge for Domestic Routes
China’s national carrier Air China will resume the bunker adjustment factor (BAF) for domestic flights, an aviation fuel surcharge for passengers of 10 RMB ($1.56) per person. Some argued that if the BAF isn’t charged and fuel price remains at a high level, domestic airlines will be forced to raise flight prices by October 2018. Click here for more information (English).
WeChat Pay Enters Russia
Just in time for the FIFA World Cup, some 130 companies ranging from tour operators and hotels to museums participating in the Russian government’s China Friendly initiative, will soon accept payments via WeChat Pay valued up to RMB 200 (US$ 31). For more details, click here (English).
Tencent Win Bid to Provide Wi-Fi on China’s High Speed Trains
Tencent and carmaker Geely won a joint bid Wednesday to obtain a 49% stake in a subsidiary of China Railway providing wifi on high-speed trains across China. The companies will increase the number of wifi hotspots throughout the high-speed rail network and develop an online platform that offers ticketing, shopping, tourism and catering services. Read more here (English).
A Quarter of Chinese Business Travelers Value Hotel Loyalty Rewards over Safety
According to a research conducted by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, 26% of Chinese business travelers are willingly to choose hotel loyalty points, rewards and incentives over safety. Full report here (English).