Online travel agents are not having an easy time. They sell airlines seats, hotel bookings, total tours. They always face the possibility of losing business to some of their most important partners — airlines and hotel companies. They make more money when travelers book directly on their own sites.
According to Shanghai-based iResearch, the undisputed local leader among online travel agents in China is Ctrip, with 53.6% market share. eLong, bought in 2004 by Expedia, is far behind with a 9% market share, and no other company commands a double-digit share.
iResearch says that while Chinese consumers have been slow to adopt internet booking, 30% of air tickets will be sold online by 2013.
4 Hoteliers reported Ctrip CEO Min Fan as saying at a conference, "Ten years into our existence, our core competitive differentiator remains our commitment to service."