Trip.com says hotel bookings in China surpass pre-pandemic level

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BEIJING — Hotel reservations in China have surpassed pre-pandemic levels since late June, booking site Trip.com said Thursday.

Trip.com shares briefly fell more than 7% in Hong Kong trading on Thursday, before recovering slightly to close 4.5% lower. New York-listed stocks fell 8.5% overnight but rose 2.5% during extended trading.

“Overall, our domestic hotel reservation in China on our platform recovered quickly and [have] surpassed pre-Covid levels as of late June,” said Cindy Xiaofan Wang, chief financial officer at Trip.com, during an earnings call on Thursday morning.

“Total domestic hotel bookings were about 20% higher than 2019 levels in July, and we continued to grow from 2019 levels in August, reaching hypergrowth from 2021,” she said.

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That growth came despite ongoing sporadic lockdowns and travel restrictions across China to contain Covid outbreaks. Tens of thousands of tourists were stranded in the resort area of ​​Hainan Province in August as a result of Covid control measures that canceled transport from the island.

Staycations accounted for much of the increase in summer travel.

Trip.com said that in the last quarter, the number of hotel reservations in the same city increased by 30% compared to the 2019 level.

However, Wang said the number of domestic air passengers had “dropped 70% to 80% from 2019 levels in recent weeks”.

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Trip.com reported second-quarter revenue of 4.01 billion yuan ($572.9 million), exceeding expectations of 3.58 billion yuan, according to FactSet. Revenues from lodging reservations and transportation tickets both exceed FactSet’s estimates.

However, total sales in the second quarter were down 32% from the same period a year ago and down 2% from the previous quarter. The company said the decline was “mainly due to the ongoing disruptions caused by the resurgence of Covid-19 in China”.

International business boom

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In the second quarter, hotel bookings in the same country outside of China quadrupled from 2019, she said.

By region, revenues from European and US markets have already surpassed 2019 levels, Wang said.

Much of the world has relaxed many Covid travel restrictions, while China has maintained a strict, so-called dynamic zero-Covid policy.

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