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Saturday, March 05, 2016
Review - Ctrip travel agent app
Review - Ctrip travel agent app

This week we’re reviewing a travel app, it’s called Ctrip. You might guess from the name that it’s a Chinese travel app. In fact Ctrip is China’s biggest and leading travel agent, which has released a nice iPhone application.

For our international readers it’s an opportunity to learn about Ctrip because they’re a competitor with the booking.coms of this world.

Although Ctrip is Chinese, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it if you’re not from China. By default the app gives hotel prices in Yen, but that can easily be changed to almost any important currency of the world, in the settings menu. The same applies for languages.

At first glance the app looks nice (important) and is super intuitive, all scrolls smooth and is quick. The app consists of 4 main topics;

1. Hotels
2. Flights
3. Trains
4. Flight Status

Booking.com

1. Hotels

Let’s go over them so you see how it can be of your advantage. First the Hotels section, which is the most important business aspect of Ctrip of course, when you open it you’ve the option to find nearby hotels based on your location or search for another distant location. I tried the local hotels feature and found real nice hotels which I know from my neighbourhood but also nice Bed and Breakfasts.

The app presents nice photos, map locations with other Point of Interests optionally, perfect for the average tourist. It shows besides a rating about the location and the reviews. I found out that sometimes it states that a place has—say 90 reviews and when I click on it, it shows 0 reviews? But most of them seem to work however. The reviews can be a mix of Chinese and English. I have the idea that Ctrip visits themselves hotels and give their own comments and ratings—that is what I’ve read in some of the hotels I selected.

My coworker was planning a trip to Copenhagen on booking.com and I told him to try Ctrip to compare prices. We compared various travel sites with Ctrip for the weekend of 12/13 March for a twin room in the Marriott hotel. Booking.com showed a heavy promotion of normally $347 down to $206. On Ctrip I could book it for only $165 and $177 with 2 breakfasts included.

Ctrip offers even a wish list and remembers your viewed hotels so that the final decision process is less painful for comparing places.

Another great feature is that every search you can filter on price, star rating, area, facilities and payment & deals. The latter option lets you choose to pay at the hotel, pay with C-Money, Prepay online or deals only. C-Money is a loyalty program from Ctrip, an electronic currency that can be accumulated by booking the various services. Eligible hotels will be marked by a C-Money icon or a C-Money+ icon on the hotel search results page and will be displayed next to eligible room types on the individual hotel page.

Read here for the full details here

 

2. Flights

With the same simple and nice interface like the hotel section you can search for flights. Just select from and destination, date(s) and passengers. I used the same destination and dates like from the hotels search (Copenhagen). The cheapest that came up was Lufthansa with $186. The same booking on the site of Brusselsairlines costs $260.

Search can be filtered on Departure/Arrival, Airport, Airline, Stops and Class.

 

3. Trains

The trains sections lets you search for train fares in China only. It just works and is easy to use, I have no idea about the prices over there so I cannot compare them, but also for international visitors it is a engaging way to prebook tickets.

 

4. Flight status

This feature interests me because I use to use the flightradar24 website to follow flights of friends and family, well let’s check it out with a plane that is in the air right now. I tracked teh BA396 plane which is En Route from London to Brussels and indeed it shows up in the app, with the correct times and all. You can choose to track is so you can follow the progression of the flight. Furthermore you can share the status with family and friends via various social media and mail.

 

Conclusion

Ctrip is an excellent and very smooth travel agency application which offers very good prices, options, loyalty programs and that is not only useful for Chinese iPhoners, but for every iPhone user in the world. It pays attention to the smallest detail—I love the font in the flight tracker section and for this Ctrip receives the maximum score.

Go check it out yourself.

 


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