Business Travel Market Size Expected to Surpass 230 Billion Yuan This Year but Penetration Rate of Business Travel Management Only 7%

Update: 2018-04-19

Recently, the development of the business travel management market has drawn the attention of the industry. The "White Paper on China's Business Travel Management Market in 2018" (hereinafter referred to as "White Paper") issued jointly by Meiya Business Travel and shows that in 2017, the transaction scale of China's business travel management market was approximately 192.8 billion yuan. Compared with 2016, there was an increase of 19.5%, and it is expected that in 2018 China's business travel market will exceed RMB 230 billion.

With the rapid growth of China's business travel market in recent years, a great number of companies have entered the "game". Apart from those earlier companies such as Ctrip and Amasia, Alibaba also gets in, with the help of its subsidiaries DingTalk and Ant Financial. It introduces a new business travel solution to free business travelers from the hassle of paying firstly, collecting receipts and getting a reimbursement from company. Feeling positive about the potential of China's business travel market, short-term rental companies like Airbnb and Xiaozhu have also stepped into business travel market in pursuit of a market share.

Business travel is a subdivided concept in tourism industry. Business travel management is the management of employees' travel activities with the assistance of business travel management companies. Although Chinese companies are becoming more aware of the importance of business travel management and the market is continuing to expand, the actual penetration rate is still within 7%. 

According to data from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), China's business travel expenditure exceeded the United States in 2016 and became the No. 1 country with the highest total expenditure. And it reached US$344.6 billion in 2017, but the penetration rate of business travel management is currently still maintained between 7%-8%, which is far less than the European and American markets (40%). In fact, according to the investigation of the White Paper, Chinese enterprises' travel management is relatively fragmented, and their awareness of making use of business and tourism management platforms is also relatively weak.  In particular, the proportion of second- and third-tier cities that use business travel management platforms is less than 30%. 

In this regard, experts suggests that it is more important for the domestic business travel platforms to educate the market and promote the importance of business travel management, especially among those small business companies, due to the current low penetration rate.

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