Berlin-based GoEuro, the well-funded European travel planner platform, is looking to the Far East for business growth, announcing today that it’s inked a distribution partnership with Chinese travel booking platform, Qunar. Its hope: to capture some of the spending power of Chinese tourists wanting to take less well-traveled routes around Europe.
The startup confirmed to TechCrunch this is the first partnership it’s signed with another travel platform to provide its core data, and its first move into Asia. Qunar’s users will be able to search and book rail tickets to thousands of European destinations, via the GoEuro integration, including small towns and villages as well as major cities and tourism hubs.
In a statement, Naren Shaam, CEO and founder of GoEuro, said: “With over 10 million visitors to Europe from China annually, our new partnership with Qunar, will provide us with the opportunity to highlight new European destinations to this rapidly growing market. We are absolutely delighted to partner with Qunar and continue to grow our efforts internationally.”
GoEuro doesn’t go into much detail about its business model, beyond saying it makes money through “commercial relationships” with its partners — which include transport providers, such as bus and train operators, but also now evidently other international travel search sites wanting to bolt a European offering onto their own platforms without having to do the legwork of building out a local transport network themselves.
At this point GoEuro says it has more than 500 European transport operators integrated into its multi-model travel search platform, and is able to serve up results for 13 European destinations — namely: the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic and (most recently) Sweden.
The partnership with Qunar will see its product integrated with Qunar’s platform to — as GoEuro puts it — “capitalize on the brand’s strong reputation in China, and take advantage of the country’s growing independent travel market”. Update: GoEuro has confirmed the integration is up and running now.
The partnership initially only covers rail tickets, however GoEuro says plans are in place to build the necessary API connections to include bus offerings from over 500 European companies to Chinese visitors too.
In 2015 Ctrip, China’s other largest travel booking service, entered into a partnership with Qunar. This later become a “significant” minority investment by Ctrip in its former rival — although Qunar continues to operate its business independently.
In a statement on the GoEuro-Qunar partnership, a Ctrip Group spokesperson said younger Chinese travelers especially are looking to explore “off the beaten track destinations”. “It is vital that we offer an easy to use digital platform to enable this,” they added.