Air China, that seems to be the most internationalized Chinese Airline in terms of their web-presence, is partnering with US Expedia Inc. to provide accommodation for its online customers.
Air China is the first Chinese airline to provide online hotel booking services to its customers on its website. The partner in this new service is the Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) that carries more than 100.000 products (Hotels).
The contract between the two partners is an exclusive one and marks the first time that Air China has worked with any partners to provide accommodation to global customers. The “Global” is an important word here, as having checked the Air China website recently, the Hotel Booking is only an option for the 27 international, localized versions of the website – but can not be found on the domestic Chinese version, even if you switch to English language. The customers from Australia, the USA, the UK or Korea, Indonesia or Russia can now book hotels at the same time as booking flights – but Chinese can not.
The Expedia Affiliate Network’s content for the booking engine is localized across those 27 worldwide markets, where the local language customer service support is provided by Expedia. Maybe this is the reason behind the Chinese site not (yet) rolling out this new service?
Jens Uwe Parkitny, managing director of EAN APAC, said that they “worked closely with Air China to understand their business and customer needs, and offered a solution that could bring a significant increase in customers and revenue. The ease of integration and usability of our interface is one of our key selling points and the reason we were able to partner with Air China.”
Mr. Jia Tie Sheng, Managing Director Sales Air China, added, “In order to ensure efficiency and breadth of choice it was a natural progression for us to sign the partnership with EAN as they were able to work with us to create a bespoke interface that best meets the needs of our customers and our business. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with EAN.”
The Hotel booking service can be reached directly from the Air China Homepage by selecting the “Hotels” tab, with the initial city dropdown menu including the major cities (and Air China destinations) within China only. By clicking on the “more options” link, the Customers can search and book Hotels in all countries of the Expedia inventory. Once starting a Hotel search, they will be taken to Expedia’s Air China branded website that has its Air China specific Header and Footer and carries the Chinese flag carrier’s colors.
We hope other Chinese carriers will follow in providing this more-or-less standard airline website feature, and we hope sooner rather than later the Chinese version of the EAN site will also be available on the Air China website so Chinese customers can also book all the 100.000 Hotels all over the world – in a Chinese localized website.