Analysis of China's online hotel booking market in the second quarter of the year shows that almost the entire market is controlled by five businesses.
Trustdata, a mobile internet big data monitoring company in China, found that Ctrip, Meituan, Qunar, Tongcheng-eLong and Fliggy accounted for 96.4% of online hotel bookings in the second quarter. The big five were also the fast-growing platforms for the quarter, suggesting that their dominance is getting stronger.
The headline findings from the report said that there was a 20% increase in the number of monthly active users - 91.9 million - in the hotel booking space compared with the first quarter of 2018. This growth is coming from users in third and lower tier cities, and from those born after 1980.
There is also some brief but telling observations about three of the big five. Meituan Hotels is the market leader in terms of order volume and room nights, with a market share of almost 50% (46.2% to be precise).
TrustData said that Meituan "exceeded the combined room nights registered on Ctrip, Qunar and Tongcheng-eLong" in the second quarter.
Fliggy is the travel unit of internet giant Alibaba Group and ranks No.1 in terms of "customer stickiness". Trustdata said that Meituan Hotels and Fliggy are tapping into the user base of sister companies. Meituan picks up traffic and business from Meituan-Diangping while Fliggy benefits from its relationship with Taobao.
Meituan-Dianping is an online local services platform which is widely reported to be considering an IPO on the Hong Kong at a valuation of some $4 billion. Taobao is the world's largest e-commerce site with more than 600 million monthly active users.
Ctrip "has the edge in high-starred hotels" Trustdata says, although Meituan and Fliggy are looking to challenge this. It also said that "while the main users of Ctrip are the middle-aged with strong consumption capacity, users of Meituan Hotels and Fliggy are younger and [will] have massive buying powers in the future.