A new Chinese startup has launched that claims to help hotels sell more directly to consumers and thereby build up better customer loyalty than on conventional e-commerce platforms. Its BingDian Hotels app is now live on iOS, packed with an array of mid- to higher-range hotel chains who are active partners in the venture.
BingDian wants to help those hotels chains to offer discounts and benefits to loyal customers whilst still allowing them to book via the app – something generally not possible with major online booking sites such as Ctrip (NASDAQ:CTRP) or eLong (NYSE:GA) where people tend to pick accommodation at random depending on changing needs.
When travelers take up membership cards with a partner hotel, those too can be stored within the BingDian app, making them easier to access and make use of next time someone makes a new booking. Current partner chains include cheaper venues such as HanTing business motels right up to global brands such as Shangri-La, Sheraton, Hyatt, etc.
One final differentiator of the BingDian app is that it features auctions for rooms at certain times in a manner similar to the “name your own price” promos on the American travel booking site Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN).
Talking to the Chinese TravelDaily site, BingDian’s CEO, Zhu Haoyi, says that it’s trying to bridge the needs of hotels and regular travelers at the same time as it’s doing things a little differently to other travel platforms in China. He added that the startup has access to angel investors and has so far taken in two rounds of seed funding – though the amounts and investors involved have not been revealed. An Android version of the app is in the works too.
Get the BingDian app for iPhone via its homepage.
[Source: TravelDaily China - article in Chinese]
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