Alibaba Group and Marriott International have established a joint venture designed to improve the travel experience for hundreds of millions of Chinese travellers.
The joint venture will leverage Marriott International’s global portfolio of brands and unparalleled hospitality expertise to revolutionise the travel experience as well as Alibaba’s digital retail leadership and its role as a gateway for international brands to reach over 500 million mobile monthly active users across its platforms.
Drawing on resources from both Marriott and Alibaba, the joint venture will manage and operate Marriott International’s Chinese-language digital channels that includes Chinese language versions of Marriott.com and Starwoodhotels.com; the Marriott Mobile App and SPG App as well as the Marriott storefronts on Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel service platform.
It will also market directly to Alibaba’s customer base, provide a link between Marriott’s loyalty programs and Alibaba’s loyalty program, and support Marriott hotels globally with content, programs and promotions customized for the Chinese traveller.
As incomes rise, China’s middle class is looking for higher quality products and travel experiences.
This new venture is designed to satisfy consumers’ expectations for seamless, integrated, personalised, and convenient travel solutions that connect travellers directly to Marriott’s portfolio of international hotel brands.
The travel industry is an important growth opportunity as China’s travellers are expected to take an estimated 700 million trips over the next five years.
“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,” said Daniel Zhang, chief executive, Alibaba Group.
“Together, we are elevating and redefining the travel experience for Chinese consumers to be more seamless and personalized as they embark on adventures to discover the world.”
Marriott’s owners and franchisees globally will benefit from the joint venture by capturing a greater share of this growing Chinese travel market and lower distribution costs associated with the joint venture.
“We have long admired Alibaba’s digital expertise and deep understanding of Chinese consumers’ needs and behaviours,” said Arne Sorenson, president, 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 programs.
“With the growing number of Chinese consumers exploring new destinations, this venture will introduce our hotels worldwide to this new and growing traveling class.”