China’s Tongcheng trip has high hopes for Gen Z

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Skift grip

As Tongcheng Travel waits for China to ease restrictions and open up travel, the online travel company has taken advantage of the downtime to diversify its user base. Now, if only the borders would fully reopen!

Peden Doma Bhutia

Catch the young clearly seems to be Tongcheng Travel’s mantra, as the Chinese online travel agency has steadily stepped up its efforts to boost its brand influence among younger generations through various marketing campaigns. .

At the end of April 2020, Tongcheng Travel, formerly known as Tongcheng-Elong, launched a new brand name – ly.com and a new logo aiming at its ambition to better serve users with a younger mindset.

“Over the past quarter, we launched campaigns to help connect with Gen Z. The company wants to build itself as a one-stop travel platform that understands and connects with younger users,” Heping said. Ma, executive director and CEO of Tongcheng, during the earnings call. earlier this week for the quarter ended June 30.

Tongcheng, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, has also worked closely with WeChat’s parent company – Tencent – for the acquisition of young users and has partnered with the Jiangsu Province Tourist Bureau to co-launch activities of marketing targeting students.

The group has also expanded its geographic footprint across the country by focusing on lower-tier cities and further optimizing operations in those cities, with around 87 percent of registered users from non-tier-one cities, the company said. society.

“We decided to seize recovery opportunities driven by demand for short and local trips, especially in lower-tier cities, which recovered faster,” Ma said.

Tongcheng’s new logo, designed to appeal to young travellers.

Over the past quarter, Tongcheng’s accommodation business performed better than expected even as China’s tourism industry faced drastic travel restrictions due to the government’s strict zero Covid policy.

The group maintained profitability in the second quarter after recording total revenue of $192 million, down 38% year-on-year from the same period in 2021. The company said also reported adjusted net income of $16 million, down 73% year on year. over-year.

“Tongcheng’s offline user acquisition initiatives also continue to play a key role in acquiring new users while facilitating its strategy to further penetrate lower-tier cities,” the CEO said.

The travel company continued to advance its offline user acquisition initiatives with a greater focus on efficiency, user value and merchandise recognition.

By integrating online and offline channels to diversify traffic sources, Tongcheng believes it has optimized its app interface and enriched tourism-related content, so as to provide users with one-stop products and services. The company also worked with location-based apps to expand user acquisition channels.

“Tongcheng Travel has continued to develop and apply innovative technology to transform itself from an online travel agency into an intelligent travel assistant,” said Joyce Li, Vice President of Tongcheng and Head of Capital Markets.

The company believes that the bus ticketing business remains an effective instrument for the company to expand its user base. “We had more city and rural bus operators on board to work together and penetrate more underutilized countries and cities,” Ma said.

Although market growth is expected to be driven by local and short-haul leisure travel, as well as increased business travel, the travel agency will continue to tap into under-penetrated regions to further increase its market share. , the executives said during the earnings call.

“Based on our strong market presence, we are confident about the industry outlook and the company’s development prospects,” Ma said.

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