Shanghai travel agency founder turns to live streaming to keep business alive during lockdown


(Yicai Global) May 5 — As Shanghai’s tourism sector grinds to a halt as the city enters its second month of lockdown to battle a new Covid-19 outbreak, the platform operator and founder Lianhuazhilv Travel Agencies found a way to keep it afloat by livestreaming ticket presales.

“I collaborate with live-selling hosts on Douyin, the Chinese version of the TikTok short video app, to make promotional videos of scenic spots and hotel activities,” Miao Yannan told Yicai Global. “We are now selling tickets and merchandise valid for a future date at discounted prices,” he said.

Lianhuazhilv, which mainly connects travel agents to form unified tourism products, managed to generate 3 million CNY (453,844 USD) in revenue from live presale on Douyin last month, Miao said. Although the profit from these sales is small, it is still a vital cash flow that will help keep the Shanghai-based company afloat.

“Business was good in January and February, but after the last Covid-19 outbreak in Shanghai in March, my agency and those of many of my peers had no business for a month,” Miao said. . The five-day Labor Day holiday, from April 30 to May 4, would normally be peak tourist season, but due to the lockdown there were no tour groups. Usually Lianhuazhilv had over 5,000 reservations in one weekend.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been going on for more than two years,” Miao said. “When he first hit, a lot of my colleagues changed careers. I also adapted my business structure and started selling local specialties from all over China. At one point, he was transferring more than 1,000 such articles per day, earning up to 200,000 CNY (30,256 USD). But there too he had to stop because the delivery logistics were too complicated.

Miao has reduced the number of employees in the offline business to a minimum and is increasing the staff and resources of its online division. “I would like to call on more operators in the sector to focus on the Internet, so that we can keep tourism alive,” he added.

Editors: Liao Shumin, Kim Taylor

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