Sina Tech, 6/21/17
Chinese online travel service provider Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRP) recently announced that it has launched a new standards mechanism for mid-range package-tour services, covering hotels, airlines, car rentals, and shopping services, under a "New Diamond Standards" program. Ctrip said that it will set new, higher standards for these services and will enforce the new standards for package tour products offered by the tens of thousands of providers on its platform.
Under the new standards, package-tour products with a 3-5 diamond rating will be required to disclose their flight number, departure time, and landing time details. Products with a 5-diamond rating will only have two flight choices, and will be prohibited from including store shopping trips.
Ctrip will also implement a "shopping outlet white list system," according to which merchants on the list will be removed from the white list if they receive complaints from travelers.
Wang Yong, a vice president at Ctrip, said that products that do not meet the new rating standards will have their rating downgraded, or may not be rated at all. Wang predicted that when the new system goes online, there will be several tens of thousands of products on the platform that will be downgraded. Consumers will be able to select package-tour products based on factors such as their diamond rating, brand, price, and reviews, and after-sale support will be provided through the platform.
Ctrip also announced a new traveler compensation system and compensation standards, which includes reimbursements for adding visits to designated shopping outlets, and per-hour compensation for flight delays.
Editor's Note: Many package-tour operators in China offer attractively priced tours, but then include stops at various "local specialty" retail outlets along (and sometimes out of) the way, where they earn a commission on any sales made to the members of their tour group. These stops take away from the time available to spend visiting the advertised sites on the tour itinerary, so can degrade the overall user experience.