Hotelbeds sets sights on Chinese expansion

Hotelbeds sets sights on Chinese expansion

Hotelbeds Group is increasing its focus on the Chinese travel market, with plans to expand its hotel collection and staff headcount in the country.

At last week’s inaugural MarketHub Asia event in Bangkok, Hotelbeds revealed that China is now the group’s fastest growing source market, having risen to become the fifth biggest source market globally for the company – up from 22nd five years ago. It is also now Hotelbeds’ top source market in the Asia Pacific region, having overtaken India two years ago.

In line with this growth, the group’s bedbank division, which comprises Hotelbeds and Bedsonline, is planning to significantly the number of Chinese hotels it has contracted.

The company has also pledged to increase hire more staff in China. Currently, there are approximately 200 employees working across the Hotelbeds Group’s various brands in China, including Hotelbeds, Bedsonline, Pacific World and Destination Services. But this figure is expected to grow in future, in line with group’s expansion plans.
Hotelbeds’ sales director, Sam Turner, addresses delegates at MarketHub Asia
Hotelbeds’ global sales director, Sam Turner, addresses delegates at MarketHub Asia

“China is our fastest growing source market and a top priority for growth over the next few years – the potential is huge, by many measures the Chinese are already the number one traveller globally and yet only 6% of them hold a passport,” said Hotelbeds Group’s global sales director, Sam Turner.

“We have responded to this rapid growth in demand over the last five years by sourcing and contracting accommodation that matches the needs and desires of Chinese travellers, including gaining exclusive rates and the best pricing.

“We’ve been here for 10 years now and immediately found out it was about much more than just obvious things like language or food options. There are whole range of factors you need to take into account such as visa issues, expectations of different room features, and now we are seeing a general shift away from group bookings towards individual trips. Even the payment solutions need to be localised, with many now expecting to use social media platforms such as WeChat for payment.

“Additionally we have focused hard on offering technology solutions appropriate for a market that in many respects is one of the most advanced technologically around the world. For example our APItude Cloud solution is in part a response to the high level of mobile bookings we were seeing the from the region.

“But it is no longer just outbound international bookings, we are seeing increasing demand internationally for China as a destination and therefore we are looking to significantly increase our hotel offering in the country over the next 12 months,” Turner added.

Hotelbeds’ inaugural MarketHub Asia event, which took place at the Avani Riverside Hotel in Bangkok, was attended by approximately 300 senior travel professionals, including around 100 delegates from China.