LONDON—IHG has signed a global partnership with Alipay, a China-based, third-party online payment solutions company. According to the company, this makes IHG the first global hotel company to give Chinese guests the ability to pay via Alipay through all of IHG’s online and mobile channels, as well as across its full estate of hotels globally.
The new partnership, which has been agreed to with Alipay’s parent company Ant Financial, will initially apply to IHG’s existing estate of more than 270 hotels in Greater China, as well as a number of hotels around the world that participate in IHG’s China Ready Program, which offers a range of tailored services to Chinese travelers. The global rollout of Alipay will begin in 2017.
According to IHG’s Future of Chinese Travel Report published in 2015, nearly 90 million Chinese households will be able to travel overseas by 2023, fuelled by a growing middle class and increasing propensity to travel. Sabrina Peng, VP of Ant Financial, commented, “As China’s leading online and mobile payment solution provider, Alipay aims to deliver convenient and flexible services to customers. We would like to provide ‘a taste of home’ for our users when they travel abroad. With IHG’s extensive global footprint, this strategic collaboration will help Alipay reach out to more customers, especially Chinese customers, as they travel around the world.”
Emily Chang, chief commercial officer, IHG Greater China, added, “Being able to pay for rooms and services in a familiar payment format is integral to the overall guest experience by ensuring a smooth booking, onsite and checkout process for our guests. Furthermore, via this strategic global partnership with Alipay, we will be exploring opportunities for more in-depth cooperation, including Post Post Pay and the Hotel of the Future Program, to further improve the booking, onsite and departure experience for our guests.”
Alipay is currently available in 70 countries and regions across the world. It handles over 160 million transactions every day, of which mobile payments account for more than 70%.