A slowing economy is not the reason to stop traveling
By CGTN's Global Business
It seems that the gloomy economy has little impact on people's enthusiasm for traveling, according to the CEO of Booking.com, who expresses optimism about the travel industry.
"People may start to choose to take short trips or go to places that are close to their homes. But people are still continuing to travel and explore the world," said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com.
In the global travel industry, China has always played a crucial part. According to travel giant Ctrip.com International Ltd., the number of Chinese outbound tourists in 2019 is expected to reach seven million, almost equal to the population of New York, surpassing last year's 6.5 million.
Being the locomotive of travel growth for some time, China plays a big part in Booking's strategy. The company has been working with Chinese businesses to broaden offers, and its partnership with Chinese businesses brings itself a lot of inbound tourists.
It forged cooperation with Ctrip, a leading Chinese travel service provider in 2012, by granting Ctrip access to its global portfolio through hotel reservation services. The company has also invested 500 million U.S. dollars in Chinese car-hailing giant Didi Chuxing as part of a global alliance, to blend room reservations and rides on demand for their customers.
"We always believe in partnership, which can achieve a win-win situation," said Tans. 
Those partnerships are part of the company's strategy to cope with the one-stop shop demands. Because apart from boosting brand and consumer touchpoints, linking up with other business makes sense as ride-hailing goes from simply ride-hailing to a de facto platform for travel between airports or train stations and hotels or restaurants.
"Besides that [banding up with Chinese companies], we are also developing our own products. We want to make sure that we have the right products that are available for Chinese consumers. We have a large consumer service there that really cares about Chinese consumers," Tans claimed.
Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com. /CGTN Screenshot

Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com. /CGTN Screenshot

Apart from offering hotels, Booking now is spreading its business into other areas to achieve one-stop shop, which is something that Chinese outbound tourism really wants.
"We started by offering hotels but now we have moved from hotels to all kinds of categories: There are more than 30 categories on the website and over 28 million listings available on Booking.com," said Tans.
Booking is also working towards a more sustainable future for the global travel industry by launching the Booking Booster, a program which aims to support startups in their journeys by offering the right kind of guidance and assistance. 
"[We do that] to make sure the world keeps being worth exploring, because I think that we all have the obligations to work on that," noted Tans.
"Even though booking online seems really big, but still it is a small percentage, in terms of (the) global travel industry," she added. "The travel will keep going so I am not so worried about that."