Chinese hotels that participated in Travelocity’s Net Rate programme experienced impressive jumps in overseas bookings for the first half of 2005.

"Participating hotels here in Shanghai alone received double the number of bookings in the first half of 2005 as they obtained for all of last year," Sue Graham, Travelocity's Regional Manager for Asia Pacific said today in Shanghai.

"Many hotels realize that they have a window of opportunity to get noticed before the influx of yet more competition. These hotels see online travel distributors, such as Travelocity, as a cost-effective way to reach the rapidly-growing number of international travellers. Not only are we seeing significant growth into Shanghai and Beijing, rooms are also being booked in cities such as Xian, Chengdu, Wuhan and Harbin, to name just a few," she said.

Ms Graham pointed to the almost-weekly announcement from chains in the US, Europe and across Asia Pacific announcing new hotels for China, particularly in time for the Olympics in 2008 and the World Expo in 2010.

Now is the perfect time for hotels to establish their online presence as the China National Tourist Office (CNTO) has launched its million-dollar-plus advertising campaign in the U.S, UK, Europe and other key markets.

Hotels need to be seen where travellers look. And the U.S., where Travelocity is the fifth biggest travel agent on and offline, already provides more than a million travellers to China a year.

The Net Rate programme is also marketed through local sites in the UK, Canada, Germany and France—which are the next ranked non-Asian sources of tourists to China,’ she pointed out.

Travelocity-powered sites all around the world have implemented our Net Rate Hotel programme. Across this region, ZUJI, the leading online travel agent in Asia Pacific, markets these hotels in Hong Kong (in Chinese and English), Australia and Singapore with Korea and Taiwan to follow.

As more and more international travellers enjoy the convenience of booking online—any time, any where—Travelocity has stepped up its support for existing hotels that want to get marketing underway now to take advantage of the growing international market.

"Some of the key factors we deliver in helping hotels benefit from the Net Rate programme include higher display position with more details of the hotel, special promotions to all our many points-of-sale, and the depth of marketing from our Market Managers who assist hoteliers," Ms Graham said.