Marriott seeks Chinese advantage with Alibaba

Marriott agrees the joint venture with Alibaba
Marriott agrees the joint venture with Alibaba

Marriott International has formed a new partnership with e-commerce giant, Alibaba, aimed at giving the hotel group an important boost in the fast-growing Chinese market.

The joint venture will promote Marriott’s properties directly to Chinese mobile users via Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel platform. Links will be established between the two companies’ loyalty programmes, and Alibaba will help Marriott drive promotions customised to Chinese travellers. In addition, Alipay, Alibaba’s mobile payment solution, will be gradually introduced at Marriott hotels worldwide.

Marriott said that the new venture is designed to “satisfy consumers’ expectations for seamless, integrated, personalised, and convenient travel solutions”. It comes as the world’s destinations prepare to welcome an estimated 700 million Chinese visitors over the next five years.

“We have long admired Alibaba’s digital expertise and deep understanding of Chinese consumers’ needs and behaviours,” said Arne Sorenson, president & CEO of Marriott International. “By forming this partnership, we are pairing our hospitality expertise with Alibaba’s digital travel platform, retail expertise and digital payment platform, Alipay, and driving membership to our loyalty programmes. With the growing number of Chinese consumers exploring new destinations, this venture will introduce our hotels worldwide to this new and growing travelling class.”

Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s CEO, commented; “We are proud to join forces with Marriott International, combining our large-scale consumer base, leading-edge technology and consumer insights with their unparalleled hospitality expertise. Together, we are elevating and redefining the travel experience for Chinese consumers to be more seamless and personalised as they embark on adventures to discover the world.”

Overall, the joint venture is expected to make the process of booking Marriott hotels quicker and easier for Chinese guests, using new mobile functionality on Alibaba. The loyalty programme partnership will also create customised rewards for Chinese consumers, such as private concerts, seats at sporting events and family experiences.

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