ELong's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

eLong, Inc. (LONG)

Q2 2012 Earnings Conference Call

August 20, 2012, 20:00 p.m. ET

Executives

Guangfu Cui - CEO

Mike Doyle – CFO

Echo Yan - Investor Relations

Analysts

Alicia Yap - Barclays Capital

Jiong Shao - Macquarie

Fawne Jiang - Brean Murray, Carret & Co.

James Lee - CLSA

Wendy Huang – CIMB

Muzhi Li – Citigroup

Tian Hu - T.H. Capital LLC

Ming Zhao - 86Research

Presentation

Operator

Good day to everyone and welcome to eLong's Second Quarter 2012 earnings report conference call. (Operator Instructions) I will now hand over the line to Echo Yan and I will be standing by for the Q&A session. Please go ahead, thank you.

Echo Yan

Hello everyone, thank you for joining eLong’s second quarter 2012 conference call.

Today, Guangfu Cui, our CEO, will make some remarks about the company’s performance in the second quarter 2012 followed by Mike Doyle, our CFO, who will provide additional detail on our financial results. Following their prepared remarks, Guangfu and Mike will be available to take your questions.

Before the management presentations, please allow me to read our Safe Harbor Statement. During this call representatives of the company will make certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Securities Act and the Securities Exchange Act. These statements are based upon management’s current views and expectations with respect to future events and are not a guarantee of future performance. Furthermore, these statements are, by their nature, subject to a large number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual performance and results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements as a result of a wide variety of factors. eLong undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Please refer to the risk factors described in our Annual Report on Form 20-F, as well as the full text of the Safe Harbor Statement in our Form 6-K, which will be furnished to the SEC in connection with our press release, for discussion of some of the important factors that could affect future results.

I will now turn the call over to our CEO, Guangfu Cui.

Guangfu Cui

Thank you, Echo. Hello everyone, thank you for being on this call.

Hotel room nights grew 65% year over year to 3.7 million in the second quarter. It is the first time that our quarterly room nights exceed 3 million. 72% of our customers now book online at eLong.com through our websites and mobile applications. Again, online order mix is at historical high.

Our domestic hotel coverage network expanded 52% to over 32,000 domestic hotels as of June 30, 2012. In addition, our international hotel coverage totals 155,000 hotels through our direct connection to Expedia.

Despite intensified competition, our hotel groupbuy product growth accelerated in the second quarter, and remains the clear market leader in China. We expanded groupbuy daily hotel deals from approximately 3,000 to 4,500. Hotels typically offer discounts about 50% or more for groupbuy deals. The hotel groupbuy products provide significant consumer savings, and our leadership in this product segment reinforces our overall hotel business competitiveness.

We continue to see high growth from mobile booking channels. We now provide full range of mobile service for our customers. eLong applications now cover iPad, iPhone, Android and Winphone. Customers can also use mobile website m.eLong.com to book hotels and air tickets. We will continue to invest to strengthen our position in this important segment.

To support our growing hotel business, we have made significant investment in improving our IT infrastructure in recent quarters, and expect to continue these investments for the remainder of 2012. We also invested in our second customer service center in Hefei which opened in Q2, and we will continue to expand its capacity for the next few quarters.

In Q2, we began advertising and branding efforts. In Q3, we launched our biggest ever marketing campaign featured with brand advertising and aggressive coupon promotion. We believe now is the right time to drive awareness of our brand, and our innovative products and services.

eLong launched air coupon program in June 2012. The air coupon rule is similar with hotel coupon. We want to use air coupons to incentivize our customers to book air tickets online. This will help us to reduce fulfillment costs. We are seeing our air ticketing business stop declining and start to grow in the third quarter. We want to reapply what is successful in hotel to the air business.

Now, I would like to hand the call over to Mike for a review of our financial results.

Mike Doyle

Thank you, Guangfu. In the second quarter, strong online hotel performance drove our year-on-year net revenue growth to 33% compared with the second quarter of 2011.

Our hotel business benefitted from our continued product investment and innovation in emerging hotel booking models such as groupbuy as well as developing channels such as mobile. Q2 room nights booked through eLong increased 65% year-on-year to 3.7 million.

In the second quarter, hotel revenue grew by 47% year on year due to increased room night volume, partially offset by lower average commission per room night. Commission per room night decreased 11% year-on-year primarily due to lower ADR, resulting from mix shift to groupbuy and budget hotels, which represent a growing proportion of our room night volume. The rate of year-on-year revenue per room night decrease lessened from Q1 partially due to an accounting estimation change related to the expiration of some users’ benefits in our coupon program. Hotel revenue now represents 78% of our total revenues, which is an increase from 70% in the second quarter of 2011.

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