Airbnb partnered last week with Qyer, one of China’s largest online travel agencies. Founded in 2004, Qyer provides ticket and hotel reservations and visa arrangements for more than 40,000 destinations from China. Last year, Alibaba made an investment in Qyer to strengthen its travel platform Taobao Travel. As part of the joint effort, Airbnb will participate in Qyer’s Youth Plan and help Chinese students travel abroad. It will also promote the concept of a sharing economy through Qyer’s Sharon Offline. The Airbnb/Qyer Travel Guide, launched to mark their partnership, has been widely downloaded.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky has announced plans to expand internationally and expects to fill more rooms than the Hilton and Intercontinental Hotel Chains by year end. The company, valued at $2.5 billion has more than 500,000 properties available in more than 190 countries. Chesky revealed that Airbnb had set its set its sights on China in September, where it had 50,000 properties compared to 100,000 in the U.S. and 150,000 in Europe. China has a few similar services, among them Tujia, Xiaozhu, and Mai. A partner with roots in the country – such as Qyer – could accelerate Airbnb’s growth in the region.
For more on the travel accommodation industry, stay tuned for L2’s upcoming Digital IQ Index: Prestige Hotels.