Alibaba Group and Marriott International announced on August 7th the establishment of a joint venture to redefine the travel experience for the hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers traveling abroad and domestically every year.
Alibaba does not lack when it comes to cooperation with global companies, as their users seek more international experiences to spend their money and time. To better guide over 500 million mobile monthly active users across Alibaba’s platforms when they travel abroad, Alibaba chose to shake hands with a hotel giant encompassing a portfolio of more than 6,200 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 125 countries and territories.
“Alibaba working with Marriott is a natural outcome. Marriott has the largest user base as well as the largest hotel portfolio and coverage. To serve our 500 million users when they travel overseas, will take us a long way. We will work with them to strive to reach that goal,” Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group said in the press conference held in W Hotel in Shanghai.
On the other hand, Marriott has observed a great surge of Chinese travelers. The travel industry is an important growth opportunity as China’s travelers are expected to take an estimated 700 million trips over the next five years, according to Marriott.
As incomes rise, China’s middle class is looking for higher quality products and travel experiences. Thinking of the bigger market, Marriott decided to work with China’s e-commerce giant to benefit from Alibaba’s digital retail leadership and its role as a gateway for international brands.
“We have long admired Alibaba’s digital expertise and deep understanding of Chinese consumers’ needs and behaviors,” said Arne Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer, 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.”
Drawing on resources from both Marriott and Alibaba, the joint venture will manage and operate Marriott International’s Chinese-language digital channels that include 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 traveler.