Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is expanding its online travel business by teaming up with US hotelier Marriott International Inc. as more Chinese travel abroad, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Under the joint venture, Chinese travelers will be able to use Alibaba’s travel service website and app to book rooms in the more than 6,200 hotels worldwide that Marriott operates under such names as Marriott, Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton and Sheraton, Alibaba said.
They also will be able to use the Alipay smartphone payment platform when they stay in Marriott properties abroad, the newspaper said.
The deal will also enable Chinese consumers to avail themselves of Marriott’s loyalty programs.
Outbound travel from mainland China has grown by 71 percent over the past four years, data from Euromonitor International shows, and is projected to rise by more than 30 percent to more than 109 million trips by 2020.
Stephanie Linnartz, Marriott’s global chief commercial officer, said Alibaba’s understanding of Chinese consumer tastes will give the hotel company a big advantage in attracting these travelers.
“They have significant customer data and insights on the Chinese consumer,” the newspaper quoted Linnartz quoted as saying. “We’re getting deep and rich into the psyche of the Chinese consumers through this partnership.”
Marriott already operates or is set to open more than 500 hotels in China.
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