Marriott, Cathay Pacific team up with Alibaba in separate deals to woo Chinese

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding and the world’s biggest hotel chain Marriott International have entered into a joint venture to tap the growing number of Chinese travelling abroad.

The joint venture will leverage the strengths of both companies – Marriott International’s global portfolio of brands and Alibaba’s huge user base, payment system and platforms – to offer reciprocal benefits.

At the ceremony to announce the joint venture (from left) Marriott International’s Stephen Ho, Peggy Fang Roe, Craig S. Smith and Arne Sorenson; with Alibaba Group’s Daniel Zhang, Li ShaoHua, Jiang Fan and David Chai

Chinese travellers will be able to book Marriott hotels through Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel service platform. The partnership will also market directly to Alibaba’s customer base, provide a link between the loyalty programmes of both companies, and support Marriott hotels globally with content, programmes and promotions customised for the Chinese traveller.

Alipay, Alibaba’s online payments platform, will be accepted at Marriott hotels in select global markets with further expansion expected around the world.

Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International, said: “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. With the growing number of Chinese consumers exploring new destinations, this venture will introduce our hotels worldwide to this new and growing travelling class.”

In a separate partnership, Cathay Pacific has also entered into a strategic cooperation with Alibaba Group to broaden the Hong Kong-based airline’s reach to more potential customers in China.

Alibaba’s travel services platform Fliggy will enhance travel planning customisation for carrier’s passengers and promote global travel among Chinese consumers.

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, will support Cathay Pacific through its data centres and network resources in 14 regions.

As well, Alipay will work with Cathay Pacific on marketing initiatives and explore payment service options at different touch points along the passenger journey.

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