French hospitality group Accor and China’s retail giant Alibaba Group have sealed a strategic collaboration to develop a series of digital applications and loyalty programmes to improve the consumer and traveller experience over the next five years.
The strategic collaboration will enable Accor to gain access to Alibaba’s nearly 700 million consumers across its China retail marketplaces. Alibaba’s travel arm Fliggy will allow consumers to book Accor hotels, access catering services, book entertainment and take advantage of other lifestyle services, while payments can be made using Alipay, a digital payment service operated by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial.
Already, Accor has developed Haoke (which means “welcome” in Chinese), a certification programme that ensures Accor’s hotels are ready to welcome Chinese guests by incorporating Chinese-language, Chinese dishes on menus, Chinese-speaking staff, and other services and payment systems that meet the needs of Chinese travellers.
The collaboration between Accor and Alibaba will be instrumental to the roll-out of Accor’s soon-to-be-launched lifestyle loyalty programme, ALL – Accor Live Limitless, according to Accor leaders. Alibaba will make the programme’s services and benefits available to its massive consumer base, leveraging its ecosystem, consumer insights and digital marketing capabilities, accelerating the roll-out of ALL in China and around the world.
Sebastien Bazin, Accor’s chairman & CEO, said: “China’s importance to the world’s tourism industry and this key collaboration with Alibaba will symbolically strengthen economic ties between China and France, while giving Chinese travelers access to exciting events and benefits through ALL – Accor Live Limitless.”
“ALL forms an integral part of Accor’s aggressive and visionary digital strategy leveraging the growing Chinese travel market,” said Gary Rosen, chairman and COO, Accor Greater China. “This is a milestone collaboration endorsed by two forward-looking nations, and extremely significant for Accor.”
Daniel Zhang, executive chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group, said: “Over the past 20 years, Alibaba has formed two flywheels with one focused on consumers and the other on enterprises. Our consumer-facing business facilitates and stimulates consumption, of which travel consumption is an important segment. Through the Alibaba Business Operating System, we enable tourism industry partners such as Accor to fully digitise their business operations, from sales to marketing, brand building to member management and service innovations.”
The announcement was made at a special ceremony in Beijing during the 2019 China International Import Expo, of which Accor was among the delegation of French companies accompanying French president Emmanuel Macron on a state visit to China.