• Andrew Collins

Fliggy: Alitrip’s Call to Millennials

Updated: May 27, 2019


What is Fliggy?

Fliggy is an online travel service platform owned by Alibaba. Users can buy pre-planned travel packages or, more importantly, tailor their own travel experience by picking from countless options. Offering flights, hotels, coupons, car rentals, and even visa assistance, Fliggy’s priority is to provide a seamless trip-planning experience that covers all aspects of travel.

Fliggy.com is not just a comparison or meta-search site. What makes Fliggy unique from other online travel agencies (OTA) is that it provides airlines and other registered sellers with valuable data and insights about their highly sought after Chinese travellers. Engagement rates, user interests, age, gender – all can be used by sellers to market more effectively. Anyone, from an international airline, to a small family owned surf shop in Hawaii, can register on Fliggy and start marketing their services and products to over 220 million members.

History

The evolution of Alibaba’s mission to compete in the OTA industry started with Taobao Travel, part of their Taobao ecosystem. Taobao is one of the largest online marketplaces in China by providing entrepreneurs and businesses an opportunity to set up shop, facilitating direct contact between buyers and sellers.

The Taobao Travel model was rebranded to Alitrip in 2014, and once again to Fliggy in 2016. At that point, Alitrip made an abrupt change in branding as they removed their blunt logo, which was essentially just their name, and replaced it with a fun and loveable pig mascot. The name of the site in Chinese is Feizhu which literally means “flying pig” and if you put the words “flying” and “piggy” together, well… you get the idea.

Affluent Millennials


According to market research company GfK, 73% of outbound tourists in China are millennials. Fliggy’s warm, bright colours, the cute piggy logo, and the hip imagery (think Statue of Liberty posing in sunglasses) is all in an effort to reel in this younger audience. The thing is, they’re not just young – they’re rich.

These heavy spenders make up over a quarter of China’s population. In fact, there are more Chinese millennials than there are total people in the US (385 million in 2016, compared to 324 million Americans). The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) predicts that by 2034, 1 in every 5 travelers will be flying to, from or within China, with the bulk of them being today’s millennials. These are numbers that travel agencies cannot ignore and must cater to.

The younger Chinese crowd owns more cars, buys more gold and more diamond jewelry than any other age group in the country. What’s more important for Fliggy is that they also spend more money during travel than their counterparts from the rest of Asia, averaging $14,000 a year. This information gives us little reason to doubt Alibaba’s bet on the youthful mass of China, and neither does Fliggy’s reported user data.

Nearly half of Fliggy’s users can be described as white collar workers, while almost two-thirds are in their 20s. Furthermore, these users are emptying their wallets as expected, allowing over 100 sellers to bring in ¥100 million ($14.7 million) per year. It’s safe to say Fliggy’s brand is serving its purpose. Now it’s time for airlines, travel agencies, hotels, tour guides, outdoor excursion packages, you name it, to take advantage of Fliggy and give customers the luxurious and high quality offers they are looking for.


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