Tujia, Rakuten join forces for Japanese homestays

Japan's homestay market is expected to surge in the coming years
Japan’s homestay market is expected to surge in the coming years

Tujia, the Chinese home-sharing company, has formed a new partnership with Rakuten, Japan’s e-commerce giant, to encourage more Chinese visitors to stay in Japanese homes.

Details of the tie-up were unveiled this week at an event in Beijing, which followed a joint news conference in Tokyo. Under the terms of the agreement, Tujia will partner with Rakuten Lifull Stay, the company’s recently-launched home-sharing unit.

Luo Jun, co-founder & CEO of Tujia, and Munekatsu Ota, president of Rakuten Lifull Stay, both attended the signing ceremony.

The two companies will now focus on meeting the demand for Chinese travel to Japan, providing vacation rentals and other services, including marketing and distribution. Based on the partnership, it is expected that Tujia’s housing portfolio in Japan will increase to 100,000 units by 2020 and 200,000 units by 2025.

Tujia’s inventory is distributed via several key channels including Ctrip, Qunar, eLong and WeChat Hotel. This will make the two companies’ Japanese properties readily accessible to the six million Chinese travellers (and rising) who now visit Japan annually.

Japan’s homestay market is expected to expand significantly in the coming years, following the recent implementation of the Japanese government’s “Homestay Business Act”, which allows international tourists to rent private homes in the country. Some consulting firms have forecast that the value of the sector will more than double between 2017 and 2020, to approximately JPY200 billion (US$1.8bn).

This encouraged Rakuten to enter the market, and the latest collaboration with Tujia follows a similar arrangement with Expedia’s vacation rental unit, HomeAway, last month.

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