SHANGHAI—Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Marriott International Inc. formed a joint venture to redefine the travel experience for the hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers traveling abroad and domestically every year.
The joint venture will leverage Marriott’s global portfolio of brands and hospitality expertise to revolutionize the travel experience as well as Alibaba's digital retail leadership and its role as a gateway for international brands to reach more than 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’ll 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.
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, personalized, and convenient travel solutions that connect travelers directly to Marriott's portfolio of international hotel brands, according to the companies. 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. 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.
The joint venture is expected to elevate the travel experience for Chinese travelers in the following ways: making global travel easy by providing newly integrated functionality to make the entire travel experience truly frictionless from planning, booking, paying and managing a trip to all of the activities associated once at the destination like shopping, dining and sightseeing; personalized and VIP experiences through Alibaba's loyalty program as well as Marriott's programs; wallet-free travel, meaning Alipay will be accepted at Marriott hotels; and next-gen loyalty by connecting Marriott's loyalty platform with Alibaba's consumer reach.