“Qunar is at least 10 years behind us.” said Fan Ming, co-founder and CEO of Ctrip, the first time the leading Chinese OTA (online travel agency) responded to Qunar’s recent PR efforts claiming the traffic of Qunar is now 3 times that of Ctrip.
A latest report by Hitwise ranked Qunar as the No.1 Chinese online travel site with a percentage of visits of over 42% in this November, while Ctrip came in third with a market share of about 15%.
Fan Ming’s argument is that the two actually fall under different categories. He rebutted that “you(Qunar) are not even in the OTA sector, how come you top the Chinese OTA market? Are you kidding us saying you already surpassed Ctrip? Why saying so? Because you’re at least 10 years behind us.”
It seems to Fan Ming that Qunar is just a search engine rather than OTA. He argued that “those who are capable of providing consumers with one-stop all-around travel service are OTA, like Ctrip. While Qunar is way out of the league, there’s nothing comparable between us.”
He also believes that there’s no way search engine could make it to the mainstream in China’s online travel market.
Launching Opaque Hotel Offerings
Except for verbally ‘attacking’ Qunar, Ctrip is also ‘fight’ real. The Shanghai-based company debut a special channel dubbed “Huixian (惠选 or Value Choices)” adopting the model of opage hotel offering that made famous by Hotwire. Ctrip made deals with hotels to offer deep discounts on unsold hotel rooms for travelers.
Fan also revealed that Ctrip has been ramping up its local presence in Tokyo, Hawaii, Bali and so on. It’s expecting an explosive growth in its vacation package business. “I assume that 50% of traveler will book vacation packages online while 50% of them will be our customers.” he added.