Marriott partners with Alibaba to capture Chinese tourism boom

Marriott International and Alibaba Group announced their joint venture to serve Chinese consumers travelling abroad and domestically.

The partnership will connect Marriott and Alibaba's loyalty programmes, allowing Chinese travelers to book rooms at Marriott hotel, or to sign up for its loyalty programmes via Alibaba's travel service platform, Fliggy.

It will also market directly to Alibaba's customer base, provide a link between Marriott's loyalty programmes and Alibaba's loyalty programme, and support Marriott hotels globally with content, programmes and promotions customised for the Chinese traveller.

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.

Tourists would be able to pay for their bookings using Alipay, Alibaba's online payments platform.

Marriott said that the move is an expansion tactic to draw more customers in the booming Asian market.

“By forming this partnership, we are pairing our hospitality expertise with Alibaba’s digital travel platform, retail expertise and digital payment platform, Alipay, and driving membership to our loyalty programmes," Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson said in a statement.

"With the growing number of Chinese consumers exploring new destinations, this venture will introduce our hotels worldwide to this new and growing traveling class."