eLong and Expedia are launching a 360-degree hotel virtual tour capability and a dramatically expanded international hotel offering on http://elong.com.
“Outbound tourism is the fastest growing sector of the Chinese travel industry*,” said Tom SooHoo, CEO of eLong. “This dramatic expansion of our international hotel offering represents a landmark in the history of the Chinese travel industry. Never before have Chinese consumers had access to such a powerful Chinese-language resource to help them plan travel outside China.”
Expedia Inc. was the first global online travel company to enter China’s online travel market when it invested in eLong in 2004. It now owns 52 percent of eLong.
“These innovations show how eLong and Expedia are working together to bring the power of online travel to Chinese consumers,” said Barney Harford, president of Expedia Asia Pacific. “Expedia is working closely with eLong to leverage the power of Expedia’s global platform while remaining laser-focused on the needs of the Chinese consumer.”
eLong’s 360-degree virtual tours bring evocative, rotating images of hotel rooms and facilities to travelers, allowing them to see the hotels they are considering before they book, giving them greater confidence in their choice. 360-degree virtual tours are available on eLong.com for both domestic Chinese and international hotels.
“The launch of 360-degree virtual tours on eLong.com allows Chinese consumers to visualize a hotel’s rooms and facilities before they book,” said SooHoo. “This functionality harnesses the power of the Web to put the consumer firmly in control when they are choosing a hotel.”
“Consumers can now visit eLong.com for a virtual visit to famous hotels in cities around the world,” continued SooHoo. ” They can experience the luxury of a Las Vegas penthouse suite with views across the city, or the romance of a Rome roof-top terrace with views across the ancient Piazza della Republica.”
The eLong.com Web site now features detailed information about these hotels in over 140 destinations, including Chinese language hotel and room type descriptions, photographs, virtual tours and floor plans. Bookings can be made online through eLong’s website or by telephone.
Inventory is being sourced in partnership with Expedia, which has a global supply network of 350 market managers based in 28 cities around the world, representing annual demand of more than 30 million room nights. This sourcing partnership allows eLong to harness Expedia’s scale and global market presence to secure highly competitive offerings on behalf of Chinese consumers.