Meituan Travel, the travel booking arm of China’s largest service-focused e-commerce platform Meituan-Dianping, announced Thursday a partnership with Club Med, the global hotel and resort operator. The Paris-headquartered company will set up a flagship store on Meituan Travel app, allowing travelers to book online.
Previously, Chinese customers can only book from Club Med’s official website, or through Alibaba’s travel-booking app Fliggy and through travel agencies.
Launched in May 2017, Meituan Travel offers services including accommodation booking, vacation package deals for domestic and outbound travel attractions, and transportation booking. Its parent company, Tencent-backed Meituan-Dianping, which was formed in 2015 after a merger between group buying service Meituan and restaurant rating site Dianping, is the world’s fourth most valuable startup, according to CB Insight.
As one of the standard-bearers in Tencent’s all-around competition with Alibaba and Baidu, Meituan-Dianping has been vying with Alibaba’s Fliggy on travel booking front, and with Alibaba backed Ele.me on food deliveries. Meituan-Dianping has got itself lots of enemies on many fronts.
Leveraging on a whopping 240 million users who already books anything lifestyle related from restaurants, massages, short trips to food deliveries on Meituan-Dianping, the number of room night booked on Meituan Travel hit 200 million in 2017. The app seeks to become China’s largest hotel service by mid-2018, Chen Liang, Meituan Travel president said in an interview.
Founded in 1950, Club Med operates around 70 vacation villages across 26 countries around the world. Starting from 2015, it now operates five vacation villages in China. From 2004 to 2016, the company has seen a rise in the number of Chinese customers by around 30% per year. The latest partnership with Meituan-Dianping will allow the company to tap into younger netizens aged under 35, who account for over 90% of users on Meituan-Dianping. Club Med plans to build up another 15 new villages in the country in the upcoming 5 years.