Telling Stories and Sharing Rights. Can Ctrip Play with NFTs Overseas?

Can Ctrip Engage in Overseas NFTs?

In the past few years, there have been many commercial brands exploring NFT and digital collectibles. Many companies hope to find new growth points beyond their traditional business by targeting the Web3 community and young audiences. Unfortunately, most attempts have ended up as short-lived marketing activities without any real business impact.

In the digital age, there are constantly new explorers trying to shape successful transformation cases. One of them is the online travel service platform Trip.com, which has the advantage of a comprehensive overseas supplier system, naturally aligning with the popularity of NFTs overseas.

Two months ago, Trip.com, the international brand of Trip.com Group, announced its NFT plan. The plan involved 10,000 NFTs in the shape of dolphin-like characters called Trekki, representing its ambition to enter the Web3 field. Trip.com designed a story of exploration and travel for this NFT series, allowing each NFT to evolve with the holder during their journey and providing benefits such as discounts and offline activities.

After two months of preheating and community building, Trip.com’s NFT sale is on the horizon. With many explorers having already failed, has Trip.com learned any lessons and gained experience from them? Will its NFT experiment have a better outcome?

Creating a worldview for NFTs

“In the distant West, there is an undiscovered country called Trekia. It is home to a group of ‘Trekki,’ more accurately described as dolphin-like creatures.

The Trekki make a living by roaming and exploring, fueled by the desire to discover unknown dimensions. After billions of years of wandering, they have uncovered all the secrets of Trekia, which is a disaster for the Trekki.

Because they feed on discovery, just as humans feed on food and drink, without new territories to explore, they lose their life energy.

Just at this moment, a savior with a passion for travel appeared. Guided by the savior, the Trekki have the opportunity to journey to the ends of their world and regain hope for life.”

This story is the worldview constructed by Trip.com for its first NFT character, “Trekki”.

In early June of this year, Trip.com Group’s international brand, Trip.com, started incubating the Trekki NFT project. The entire NFT collection consists of 10,000 Trekki characters created in the form of dolphins, each with different decorations and appearances, accompanying future holders, or “saviors” in the story, to explore a new world together.

Scenarios from the Trekki story

The Trekki NFT has four series, corresponding to different levels of rarity.

Among the 10,000 NFTs, 90% are Land Travelers. These Trekki have traveled to different continents on Earth, exploring various regions and experiencing different landscapes, cuisines, and cultures. 7% of Trekki are Time Travelers, joining interstellar voyages to explore the past and future of the world. Only 2.5% of the NFTs are Space Travelers. Some dolphins have mastered the technology to transcend space and have reached countless parallel worlds. The most scarce are the Super Travelers, with only 0.5% or 50 Trekki, who have surpassed worldly constraints through internal exploration and arrived in boundless realms.

Returning from the story to reality, Trekki is essentially a new form of membership rights for Ctrip. After acquiring the NFT, travel enthusiasts can enjoy exclusive discounts on flights, hotels, attractions, and event tickets on the Ctrip global platform. NFTs of different scarcity levels will correspond to different rights.

Prior to the sale of NFTs, Ctrip created a complete story world based on its own travel platform, which helps users understand the NFTs that appear as story characters and also facilitates the integration of NFT gameplay with its own business in the future.

Self-upgrading NFTs bring playability

Although Trekki’s official website and official social media accounts have been launched in June, Ctrip’s Trip.com did not rush to start the sales activities. Instead, a series of warm-up activities were launched first to convey the story of Trekki to the public.

On overseas social platforms, the operators of Trekki held multiple online SLianGuaice exchanges, created a Discord community, and recruited 999 members to join the Trekki Alliance, establishing community and consensus. To join the alliance, users need to indicate the alliance name as a suffix to their personal IDs and modify the Twitter banner in the specified style.

Alliance members also have corresponding rights, including participating in exclusive community giveaways, participating in private lotteries, occasionally receiving surprises, and being invited to offline events. In the alliance, travel enthusiasts from around the world can communicate with each other and become different roles in the Trekki Alliance.

Trekki Community Rules

Over the past two months, Trekki NFT’s official Twitter account has attracted more than 70,000 followers and gathered tens of thousands of members in the Discord community. In addition, the Trekki community has also launched creative activities to encourage users to create content and enrich the community content ecology.

In terms of NFT design, Ctrip’s Trip.com has also adopted an interesting mechanism. Unlike existing membership rights, Trekki will continue to grow and evolve during the journey as the holder travels. This means that every NFT has the potential to be upgraded.

Ctrip’s Trip.com does not operate Trekki in the popular “holding the original NFT to airdrop new NFT” way commonly seen in the NFT application field. Instead, it combines real-world scenarios, allowing the holder’s “little dolphin” to automatically grow and unlock more rights each time they book a flight or hotel on the Ctrip platform.

In addition, Ctrip’s Trip.com has added AI capabilities to each NFT, allowing it to serve as a travel AI assistant. Holders can ask Trekki (supported by ChatGPT) any travel-related questions, such as creating a 5-day itinerary in Japan.

The above gameplay is a fusion of the Trekki NFT story and real travel scenarios, as well as a combination of Web3 and AI in new scenarios. It’s like each little dolphin truly follows its owner’s journey and grows from continuous discoveries. Moreover, they become travel planning assistants with the help of AI. Through these designs, the flat NFTs become vivid and practical.

Practical Equity Design and Derivative Possibilities

Interesting storylines and evolutionary mechanisms give Trekki NFT a certain level of fun and playability. However, its actual value ultimately depends on the actionable equity it can provide.

As a travel booking service platform, Trip.com can provide the most attractive benefits in terms of travel discounts and convenience. In its promotion, Trip.com gives followers a practical reason to purchase – “saving money”.

According to reports, each NFT holder can receive $100 worth of Trip Coins, which can be used to enjoy discounts when booking hotels or flights on Trip.com. Holders can also directly enjoy the platinum member benefits of their Trip.com account, including up to 15% additional discounts, free room upgrades, late check-out, and free cancellation at designated hotels. As Trekki grows, users will unlock more privileges.

Some Trekki NFT characters

In addition, holders can exclusively participate in offline activities organized by Trekki or Trip.com, such as music festivals and food carnivals. After obtaining Trekki NFT, holders have the opportunity to receive subsequent NFT airdrops for free or enjoy priority purchasing rights for other NFT projects in the ecosystem. In the near future, Trekki NFT holders will also be able to earn tokens through staking and exchange for additional benefits.

Trekki NFT is also attempting to expand the coverage of its rights. It is disclosed that Trekki will explore collaborations with more brands, including hotels, airlines, and tourist attractions, in order to provide more benefits to Trekki holders and further strengthen the connection between the digital realm and real travel.

Compared to traditional membership cards or vouchers, Trekki NFT offers more gameplay and becomes an independent IP, helping to create a new community culture and even attract more brands to join. The most important value is that when it circulates on the blockchain, this membership right becomes a digital asset that can be traded or gifted at any time, which means that travel rights have transitioned from closed to open.

At this point, many derivative possibilities have also emerged. Trekki NFT can showcase the identity of travel enthusiasts and become a kind of identity label on social media; content creators can use Trekki NFT for secondary artistic creations, such as making comics, videos, or even live streaming; NFT holders can also use Trekki’s character to develop clothing, toys, and merchandise, etc.

When NFT is tied to tangible benefits, it has practical value, making it easier to continue to develop rather than being ignored after a speculative frenzy.

Trekki NFT is expected to be launched on the Ethereum blockchain in September. As for whether Trip.com’s attempt will achieve good results, it remains to be observed. One major uncertainty is that there is still a significant barrier for Trip.com’s Web2 users in China to enter the Web3 world of Trip.com. In addition to the fact that the two platforms belong to different regions and cater to different tourist consumers, how to register an on-chain wallet and how to trade NFTs and pay on-chain transaction fees are operational challenges for most domestic users.

If you are planning to book an outbound trip on Trip.com recently, you may want to pay attention to the platform’s NFT series.

In fact, since 2016, Ctrip has been expanding its international market through acquisitions of companies such as MakeMyTrip, Skyscanner, and Trip.com, covering business in about 200 countries worldwide. In the first half of 2022, Ctrip entered the top 10 of the global travel category app download rankings for the first time. In the fourth quarter of 2022, Ctrip’s net profit attributable to shareholders of the group was 1.4 billion yuan, turning losses into gains and increasing by 355%. The financial report also attributed part of the growth (traffic) to the strong recovery of the overseas tourism market.

For Ctrip Group’s continuously rising overseas performance, Trip.com has launched the NFT plan to consolidate consumer loyalty to the brand. With NFT, a popular digital means in overseas markets, with extensive market education and a large transaction market in Web3, it aims to attract traffic, stimulate activity, and promote the market expansion of Ctrip’s overseas business.

The success or failure of Trip.com’s NFT plan may provide a reference for global online travel booking platforms to transition to Web3.

Are you attracted to the Trekki NFT?

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