Ctrip and Priceline dine out together

Ctrip‘s Chinese customers visiting North America will be able to book restaurants using Priceline Group’s OpenTable via the Ctrip app.

The tie-up is based around Ctrip’s Gourmet List brand, which launched in 2016 allowing Chinese travellers to discover and book restaurants in China and around the world. Gourmet List currently has some 15,000 restaurants in 120 destinations in China and around the world.

OpenTable will add “tens of thousands” of bookable restaurants to Gourmet List.

Gourmet List is one of Ctrip’s “baby tigers”, a portfolio of wholly-owned startup business which feed into the mothership but which operate as a standalone business with their own executive team.

The CEO of Gourmet List, Kimi Liu, said in a statement: “Ctrip’s partnership with OpenTable is about more than just food – it brings together local culture, communities, lifestyle and travel,” while OpenTable’s senior vice-president of marketing, Scott Jampol, noted that Chinese visitors to North America will now be able to book “a last minute reservation near their hotel or…a world class fine dining experience.”

Priceline Group has had a long-term strategic relationship with and investment in Ctrip since 2012 and has invested some $2 billion so far, with the most recent play coming at the end of 2015 when it put another $500 million into Ctrip.  The announcement at the time said that “accommodations inventory is cross-promoted between the brands.”

Today’s announcement about OpenTable extends this co-operation beyond Priceline’s core accommodation product. The relationship between Priceline Group and Ctrip is well established but operates, to an extent, under the radar. Ctrip’s biggest move beyond China was its $1.75 billion purchase of Skyscanner at the end of 2016, although the Skyscanner deal was about serving points of sale outside China.

Ctrip’s purchase of trip planning site trip.com last November and the rapid alignment with Skyscanner indicates the Chinese market leader has global aspirations as well.

Its Open Table tie-up, on the other hand, is very much about Ctrip becoming an even more comprehensive one-stop shop for Chinese outbound travellers.  While the growth in Chinese visits to the US is widely acknowledged, Ctrip said that Canada is also on the rise, with bookings up 60% year-on-year.

Priceline Group has taken a studied approach to China. It recently added another Chinese partner when it took part in a $4 billion Series C funding round for Chinese ecommerce giant Meituan-Dianping, forming a new strategic partnership between its APAC-focused accommodation site agoda.com and Meituan Travel.



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Martin Cowen

About the Writer :: Martin Cowen

Martin Cowen is contributing editor for tnooz and is based in the UK. Besides reporting and editing, he also oversees our sponsored content initiative and works directly with clients to produce articles and reports. For the past several years he has worked as a freelance writer, specialising in B2B distribution and technology. Before freelancing, from 2000-2008, he was launch editor for e-tid.com, the first online-only B2B daily news service for the UK travel sector.



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