eLong, Inc. ( LONG)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

November 14, 2011 7:00 PM ET

Executives

Guangfu Cui – CEO

Mike Doyle – CFO

Analysts

James Lee – CLSA

Eddie Leung – Merrill Lynch

Ming Zhao – SIG

Fawne Jiang – Brean Murray

Mu Zhi Li – Mizuho Securities

Alicia Yap – Barclays Capital

Wendy Huang – RBS

Catherine Leung – Goldman Sachs

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

Thank you. We will now begin the question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from James Lee, company from CLSA. You may go ahead and begin.

James Lee – CLSA

Thanks for taking my questions. I was wondering how long do you guys plan to keep to keep on the coupon promotions going since I guess having a lot of success in that?

And also secondly, is there any way you can give us more color on success of the program? Are you seeing more success by certain geography, certain hotel segments, and I was just curious how you guys are doing into the repeating customer using a coupon? In other words, when the first time someone use the coupon, do they come back and use the coupon again? Thanks so much.

Guangfu Cui

Thank you. This is Guangfu. I’ll take you question, and Mike if you want to add later. The primary motivation behind our coupon program is to provide customers value by saving their money and introducing them to our market leading network of 23,000 domestic hotels, and continually enhance hotel booking websites. So this is where they kind of plan to encourage customer booking online. If they book online, then they save us in terms of call center operation costs. So, we want to incent customer’s direct behavior. So, this is a primary kind of motivation power to launch the program.

And we plan to continue to refine our coupon program to better serve the needs of our customers. For any marketing program eLong run, we want to measure on the marketing efficiency. And so far, we like to provide and – we have seen 60% of our customer book online now. We attribute part of this success to e-coupon.

So, our – that probably is the main purpose. We don’t want to comment competitor’s kind of actions on this. Mike you have anything to add?

Mike Doyle

We’re not prepared just to share the details with the coupon program by segment at this time.

James Lee – CLSA

Okay. And Mike maybe this is as a follow-up. Is there anyway can help us on coupon versus the standard price. And also a different question, the last minute bookings. Is there any way you can help us understand which segment you’re seeing more traction, is the more the high-end or the low-end. People are seeing more interest and what kind of yield are you seeing versus regular booking?

Mike Doyle

On the first question on average discount on the coupon, we are constantly adjusting the coupon that we offer based on number of different factors and customer response. So I’d say it’s difficult to put an average there. On the last minute hotel booking, the last minute hotel booking is a new program for us. And so we’re currently in the stage now of adding significant amount of inventory. And so we’ve – we’re still expanding that network and it’s early to evaluate which segment is most appealing to.

James Lee – CLSA

And Mike pricing on last minute booking versus regular?

Mike Doyle

No, it’s I think early to start talking about the averages during the Last-Minute hotel booking, but they are significant given the distressed nature of the inventory. So I think if there is a strong value proposition here, both for the customers receiving a big discount on the day on check-in, as well as a good benefit for our hotel suppliers helping them to distribute otherwise distressed inventory. The savings are significant.

James Lee – CLSA

Great. Thanks so much.

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our next question comes from Eddie Leung and that he will be coming from Merrill Lynch. You may go ahead and begin.

Eddie Leung – Merrill Lynch

Hey good morning Mike and Guangfu. I have a couple of questions. The first one is could you guys give us more color on your Group Buying business, any operating metrics for example your number of deals, the proportion of geographic news coming from Group Buying? And then my second question is in addition to your Coupon program, any other marketing campaigns you guys are considering to do in the upcoming in the upcoming, let’s say in the upcoming months or in the upcoming year? Thanks.

Mike Doyle

I will take the question Eddie. The Group Buying products, we like it. And so when we launched Group Buying products, we also trying to eliminate some of the record package business. We have a small package business in the past where consumers can buy the, our products by themselves plus hotel.

So when we do the Group Buying, we limit these programs because we think Group Buying is a direct competition versus packaged business. So we focus on Group Buying. We launched the Group Buying business in Q1 and expanded offering in Q2 and Q3. Right now, we have close to more than 400 hotels on sale for every single day. And so we are a leading player in the group by product in China. Customer responding well to this proposition because normally the group by product systems somewhere around 30% to 50% discount.

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