Ctrip announced to transform into an MTA (mobile travel agency) from OTA (online travel agency) yesterday. Currently about 40% of hotel bookings are from mobile apps, higher than that from the Web or call center, according to Liang Jianzhang (or James Liang), CEO of Ctrip. He believes Ctrip is the first in China’s online travel sector in terms of hotel bookings as a percentage.

At the same time a major update of Ctrip mobile app was released. New features include 1) self-organized travel package booking. The company promises the prices could be up to 50% lower than booking hotels and flight tickers separately; 2) A social platform for users to keep travel journals or explore travel destinations. Other features or services are all aiming to help save money or make travels convenient.

Ctripapp

 

Mr. Liang returned to Ctrip last year when competitors had catched up while its own business structure became more cost-intensive. Going mobile was one of the three ways he pointed to to save Ctrip.

Apart from updating its own apps, Ctrip has been seeking for M&A opportunities in online travel market. Earlier this year it invested in Economy Hotel Manager.

Liang said Ctrip would open the back-end data to third-party developers later and introduce more service providers.