This story is part of our Digital Deep Dive series, which we worked on with our friends over at Hylink Digital who provided today’s piece on Fliggy. The rapid rise of the outbound Chinese travel market has brought with it a host of digital platforms and services. Learning who these companies are, and how they operate in the Chinese tourism space is becoming more important all the time for destination marketing organizations and non-Chinese travel companies.
Fliggy is the OTA of choice for Chinese millennials, GenX’ers, and the all-important FIT consumer. When this high purchasing power group considers the various available OTAs, they often defer to Fliggy when planning a trip. This is due, in large part, to the general sense of trust in the platform, particularly considering Fliggy lives within the Alibaba ecosystem, which went public on the NYSE in 2014. This means travel product-seekers are able to utilize e-commerce site Taobao, also owned by Alibaba, to purchase additional items necessary for their trip, as well as tap into Alipay for transactions, ensuring a seamless user experience throughout.
Fliggy’s place in the Alibaba ecosystem shores up its popularity among younger Chinese travelers
There are over 10 million daily active users on Fliggy, 80 percent of which are millennials. Furthermore, 80 percent of users have a college-level degree or higher, and a majority also have white-collar jobs and live in first and second-tier cities. Overall, the purchasing power of Fliggy’s user base is tremendous. And with the data sourcing capability that comes from being part of the Alibaba family, Fliggy’s overall exposure and reach gives it the potential to become an even larger force in the travel and tourism market.
With respect to public perception, many Chinese consumers view Fliggy as a more “premium” travel booking experience. The site design is youthful, refined, and energetic, and predominantly geared toward long-haul, leisure, experiential, as well as luxury trips, as opposed to short-term or domestic business travel.
Fliggy has a more “premium” and “youthful” perception among Chinese consumers, and that’s reflected in who uses the platform
Fliggy’s topline strategy is to promote outbound travel. Therefore, the platform employs a significant number of travel promotions and collaborations with international DMOs, hotels, airlines, and other travel product vendors. In doing so, users can easily make purchases for nearly every aspect of their trip—visas, rental cars, transportation, mobile phone plans, local tours—essentially everything a Chinese traveler would need to make their travel experience seamless.
For example, if a prospective traveler was planning a Hawaiian vacation, that user could purchase a scuba diving excursion, hotel stay, air travel, and transportation all within the platform. Furthermore, if the same user wanted to purchase a wetsuit for their Hawaiian scuba experience, they could do so through Fliggy. And if not Fliggy, the user could use Taobao, also in the Alibaba ecosystem.
User engagement still remains a challenge for the youth-oriented travel platform
A feature still in development for Fliggy is user engagement. With the current structure, users certainly rely on the platform to book the entirety of their trip, but most are not sharing their actual travel experiences through the platform. The platform does utilize KOL “travel notes,” but these are not as widely read as similar posts on social media or other OTAs. WeChat and Mafengwo are still better-equipped platforms for sharing, commenting, and interacting with others. On Fliggy, this engagement is more sparse. However, Fliggy arguably remains the most premium OTA, offering highly competitive prices on their products and a curated travel planning experience.
- Flight booking
- Hotel booking
- Guided tours
- Excursions & recreational activities
- Travel visa services
Fliggy has a destination “Pavilion” section that is intended to inspire site visitors in their travel planning process. When a user navigates to the destination page, Fliggy displays the most popular or most viewed locations, typically featuring the United States, Dubai, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Finland, Singapore, Australia, and Thailand. When the user clicks a country image, the site then navigates to the destination Pavillion page.
Fliggy has been able to tap into KOLs to drive sales and interactivity in ways other platforms have struggled with
The Pavilion features various city destinations within its respective country, which includes beautiful photography, KOL travel notes, and suggested itineraries. The KOL posts are highly popular and effective, and many users refer to this content when deciding where to stay, what to do, and where to eat on their trip. DMOs can also utilize KOLs by collaborating on content for target destinations.
Hylink, as a digital agency working with several U.S. DMOs, utilizes Fliggy to amplify our clients’ communication volume and to place banner ads. For example, the team is currently developing ads on Fliggy’s Pavilions, which then directs to the DMOs site featuring helpful travel information and travel products, ultimately increasing conversion rates. DMOs can further control their Fliggy strategy by consistently refreshing their Pavilion content and maintaining fun and engaging KOL posts.
Fliggy’s Pavilion platform also allows DMOs to provide and curate travel information to potential tourists, expanding DMO reach in the Chinese market
With Fliggy playing an increasingly vital role in the OTA market, the platform is highly focused on upgrading and expanding upon DMO collaborations and promotions. In particular, Singles’ Day campaigns on the platform have proven to be incredibly successful for DMOs and the travel industry at large. China’s Singles’ Day (11/11), created by Alibaba, stands as world’s largest online shopping event, with 2017’s extravaganza observing a record-breaking $25.3 billion spent in just 24 hours.
Hylink facilitated a partnership between Brand USA and Fliggy to implement a Singles’ Day campaign to attract the Chinese millennial traveler; the first instance in which a Western country participated as a single destination for Singles’ Day, with Fliggy featuring an array of American travel products on its website. The inaugural campaign exceeded all expectations; there was an overall 35 percent increase in travel products purchased compared to 2016, and 56 percent higher consumer participation due to the large selection of travel products and increased awareness of the Singles’ Day campaign.
Hylink Digital is China’s largest independent full-service digital agency, internationally based in Santa Monica, Calif. For more information, visit www.hylinkgroup.com, follow @hylinkdigital on Twitter, or drop us a note at email@example.com.