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Marriott & Alibaba partner to run Chinese travel site
Published on: 2017-08-08
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031Marriott International is joining hands with Alibaba.

The American hotel giant said Monday it has formed a joint venture with Alibaba Group Holding to sell online travel bookings and loyalty program deals in China, an expansion tactic to draw more customers in the booming Asian market.

In the deal, Marriott will expand the number of its properties available - including the flagship brand, Ritz-Carlton and W Hotels - for booking on Alibaba's online travel booking site, Fliggy.

The Marriott-Alibaba joint venture also will run Marriott's "storefront" portion on Fliggy and allow Chinese customers to sign up for Marriott's loyalty programs. The newly revamped site also will display and pitch promotions and services, such as breakfasts and group tours, that are customized for Chinese travelers, particularly at Marriott hotels.

With China's middle-class earning higher wages and traveling in great numbers, international travel companies have been aggressively pouring investment and developing hotels in the country in hopes of instilling brand loyalty. As domestic travelers rack up mileage and increasingly go abroad, Marriott and Alibaba are banking on greater demand for higher-quality hotels and better online booking experience. China’s travelers will make about 700 million trips in the next five years, Marriott estimates.

More specifically, the joint venture plans to make it easier for travelers to buy shopping, dining and sightseeing deals as they book flights and hotels on Fliggy.034Alibaba Group CEO Mr. Zhang Yong

Marriott also will try to sell some selected events, such as concerts, court-side seats at games and other family events offered at its Marriott and Starwood loyalty programs.

Alibaba's online payment service, Alipay, will be accepted at Marriott hotels in some countries.

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