Chinese experiment with travel

SHANGHAI, 9 April 2018: Ctrip, China’s online tour giant,  says Chinese travellers are looking beyond the fixed tour group itineraies to curate their own travel experience.

More Chinese travellers than ever are buying customised travel services and they are spending more on the experience, according to findings presented by Ctrip.

The countries that are most likely to benefit from the swing to customised travel are in Southeast Asia, namely Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Ctrip has been monitoring the trend for customised travel since it opened its own specialised division to serve independent travellers in January 2016.

As the largest online travel agency in Asia and the second largest in the world, Ctrip Customised Travel has seen increased user demand grow by 120,000 enquires a month.

The division has recruited 1,000 suppliers and 4,000 personal travel consultants covering 141 countries, making it the largest customised travel platform in Asia.

It claims to offer hassle-free one-stop services for users to embark on a personalised travel experience.

This month, Ctrip Customised Travel will host its first Business Summit in Budapest, Hungary, later this month, where it hopes to recruit more European travel suppliers to cater for the growing number of Chinese travellers who are graduating to independent travel itineraries from the traditional group tour.

According to Ctrip’s ‘2017 Customised Travel Report’, 2017 marked a milestone that clearly identified customized travel in China as an emerging travel trend.

More than 1 million requests were made in 2017 for customised travel.

Key indicators

60% of the requests were for domestic tourism with Sanya, Xiamen, Beijing, Lijiang and Shanghai as the top five most popular destinations for travellers.

For outbound requests, people travelled mostly to Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.

80% of travellers requested ‘slower’ trips that were more personalised.

60% placed local cuisine experiences as the most important feature.

55% opted for distinct hotel experiences.

30% of requests were made for engagement, marriage and honeymoons.

80% of customised trips were made by those travelling with families.

Travellers born between the 1980s and 1990s were the most likely to book customised travel.

CTrip’s report concluded Chinese travellers are becoming more willing to spend money on gaining local experiences. There is greater demand for high-quality and individualised travel products and services.