Alibaba Group Holding and Marriott International have announced the establishment of a joint venture to redefine the travel experience for the hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers travelling abroad and domestically every year.
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 Marriott’s storefront on Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel service platform. It will also market directly to Alibaba’s customer base, provide a link between Marriott’s loyalty programmes and Alibaba’s loyalty programme, and support Marriott hotels globally with content, programmes and promotions customised for the Chinese traveller.
Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer, Alibaba Group said, “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.”
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. 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.
Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International said, “We have long admired Alibaba’s digital expertise and deep understanding of Chinese consumers’ needs and behaviours. 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.”