Foreigners living in China often have a dilemma when we travel abroad: paying for hotels. Obtaining a credit card in China is difficult for non-Chinese. We are often left using a non-RMB credit card or Paypal account from our home country (good luck trying to pay the bill back if your salary is in RMB). In today’s article, we’ll help you solve this problem through WeChat!
China Channel compared how the major travel companies in China currently operate through WeChat. The results are below:
Only Elong and Ctrip allow customers to both a.) use WeChat payments and b.) choose international hotels. Even though Ly.com is WeChat’s featured travel agent (they are the default when you select hotels through WeChat wallet), it currently does not offer international hotel bookings. Ctrip and Elong, however, have been very active in forming international partnerships. Ctrip has partnerships with booking.com and Agoda.
A drawback for non-Chinese speakers is that Ctrip’s and Elong’s WeChat payment feature is not available in English. Thus, Chinese language skills or a Chinese friend will likely be needed to help you book an international hotel using WeChat pay. You will also need to have money in your WeChat Wallet or have your bank account linked to WeChat.
Booking Our Trip to Bangkok With WeChat Ctrip
Go to ‘contacts’ then ‘official accounts’. Tap + in the corner and type ‘ctrip’ into the search field. Choose the 1st choice in the list if you want to book using a foreign credit card in English. Choose the 2nd choice if you want to book using WeChat payments in Chinese.
We’ll show you how do it the Chinese way, as we expect you won’t need much help to do things in English. Select the bottom left button ‘Reservations’ (预订专区), and then ‘hotel bookings’ (酒店预订).
We now are taken to Ctrip’s WeChat Hotel Bookings page. The top line is for the location. Tapping here, will take you to a menu of domestic & international locations (we want Bangkok which is 曼谷 mangu). The departure point is automatically set from your location, though can be changed from the target button on the right.
When you have entered your dates and destination searched your entry, you will be given a list (in Chinese). Select the hotel. Then choose the price and type of room.
You will then be required to enter your personal information (this information can be saved for future visits). Once done, push the pay button on the bottom right.
You will now be given 3 payment options, including WeChat pay (the other is bank or debit card). Enter your WeChat Pay code.
Congratulations! You have now used your hard earned RMB to purchase a hotel room on your Thailand adventure. Due to the ever changing hotel prices, and different international partnerships it’s probably worth checking other providers on WeChat (see chart) to make sure you are not missing a great deal.
For hotel managers and owners outside of China trying to attract outbound Chinese tourists, this article reveals the growing importance of having a presence on WeChat. Building a brand through customer referrals on WeChat could lead to strong revenue growth, especially during Chinese travel seasons.