Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].
Vacation rental website HomeAway is hoping to capitalize on the growing ranks of Chinese vacationers through a new agreement with Tujia.com to distribute translated listings on its partner’s platform.
The deal follows HomeAway’s decision to purchase a minority stake in Tujia in May. Ctrip, one of China’s top travel sites, is the largest investor in Tujia.
Since HomeAway’s goal is to make “every vacation property in the world available to every traveler”, its international expansion is only natural. The company recently signed a deal with Wego, a travel search site that has significant market share in Asia Pacific and Middle East. HomeAway effected an expansion into Europe earlier this year with the purchase of TopRural, which provides listings for rural accomodations throughout southern Europe.
“We are excited about the potential in China, where the vacation rental industry is only now developing,” HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples said in a statement. “Although this distribution agreement will not have a meaningful impact on our short-term financials, it opens China’s travel market to HomeAway owners and property managers, and is reflective of our continued interest in growing our presence in Asia.”
Evidence points to travelers from Asia as being the key growth market worldwide. For instance, PhoCusWright Research analyst Charlie Li expects Asia Pacific to become the world’s largest travel market next year. He also predicts China will have 78 million outbound travelers this year with a total of $80 billion in overseas spending.
The cross listings, which have been translated into Chinese by Tujia, are ones that have been identified as best fitting Chinese locals heading overseas and will include destinations in Australia, Western Europe, Southeast Asia and the US. Tujia will also act as an intermediary to help users book the properties.
Of course, HomeAway isn’t the only travel platform with its sights set on Asia. Airbnb recently added support for Chinese to its iOS app as it looks to grow the number of properties it lists in Asia from 20,000 to as many as 2 million. It recently launched an office in Australia and is planning new locations in Indonesia and Thailand.
Local competitors are also coming online. Southeast Asia-based Travelmob announced in September that it had raised $1 million in a round led by Jungle Ventures. The company focuses on rentals within Asia Pacific, so it won’t compete with HomeAway for Chinese clientele headed to the west, but Travelmob has been seeing a rise in travelers originating from China.
Image credit: iStockPhoto
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