Alibaba, Marriott teaming up to court Chinese travelers

Alibaba and Marriott target Chinese outbound travellers with joint venture

The world's biggest hotel chain said the joint venture with Alibaba would allow Chinese travelers to book rooms at Marriott hotels via Alibaba's travel service platform, Fliggy.

Alibaba is trading higher by 3.31% at $US158.40 a share following word the company is getting into the hotel booking business. The project would also feature content, programs and promotions for Chinese travelers in Marriott hotels, according to a company press release.

The deal includes direct marketing to Alibaba's existing customer base and open up the loyalty programs of the two travel giants.

Marriott shares climbed 1.1 percent to $106.17 in NY. But Alibaba is also working to expand the way it interacts with consumers beyond being a mere website where people buy products.

The travel industry is experiencing a huge growth in China, with more than 700 million trips expected to be taken over the next five years and this joint venture will give Marriott the edge because of its wide selection of hotels that travellers can choose from.

The partnership benefits both companies.

Meanwhile, Marriott said in a news release, "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 worldwide brands to reach over 500 million mobile monthly active users across its platforms". Marriott gains access to Alibaba's platform, payment system, and large user base. Marriott tied up with Alibaba affiliate Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group in 2015, to let guests pay for hotel stays and related items with Alipay on phones.

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