"Outbound tourism is the fastest growing sector of the Chinese travel industry*," said Tom SooHoo, CEO of eLong. "This dramatic expansion of our international hotel offering represents a landmark in the history of the Chinese travel industry. Never before have Chinese consumers had access to such a powerful Chinese-language resource to help them plan travel outside China."
Expedia Inc. was the first global online travel company to enter China's online travel market when it invested in eLong in 2004. Expedia now owns 52% of eLong.
"These innovations show how eLong and Expedia are working together to bring the power of online travel to Chinese consumers," said Barney Harford, president of Expedia Asia Pacific. "Expedia is working closely with eLong to leverage the power of Expedia's global platform while remaining laser-focused on the needs of the Chinese consumer."
eLong's 360-degree virtual tours bring evocative, rotating images of hotel rooms and facilities to travelers, allowing them to see the hotels they are considering before they book, giving them greater confidence in their choice. 360-degree virtual tours are available on eLong.com for both domestic Chinese and international hotels.
eLong's expanded international hotel offering makes hotels in over 140 destinations worldwide available to Chinese consumers. The eLong.com Web site now features detailed information about these hotels, including Chinese language hotel and room type descriptions, photographs, virtual tours and floor plans. Bookings can be made online through eLong's Web site or by telephone.
Inventory is being sourced in partnership with Expedia, which has a global supply network of 350 market managers based in 28 cities around the world, representing annual demand of more than 30 million room nights. This sourcing partnership allows eLong to harness Expedia's scale and global market presence to secure highly competitive offerings on behalf of Chinese consumers.