Marriott Targets Chinese Travelers via Alibaba

Marriott Targets Chinese Travelers via Alibaba

Marriott International Inc said yesterday it would partner with China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd to tap into the growing number of Chinese citizens who travel overseas.

According to an announcement on the joint venture, Chinese tourists will be able to reserve Marriott's over 6,200 properties in 125 countries on Fliggy, the Chinese group's online platform, as well as the hotel chain's Chinese-language digital channels.

Marriott stock traded up 3% premarket Monday ahead of the Maryland-based company's second quarter earnings expected after the bell.

Chinese e-commerce leader, Hangzhou, based Alibaba is expanding into retail categories, such as clothing, entertainment and travel bookings as appetite for worldwide travel rises in China rises with income. The two will link their loyalty programs and provide promotions for Chinese travelers, they said in a joint statement.

Shares of Marriott are up 1.49% on the news. But Alibaba is also working to expand the way it interacts with consumers beyond being a mere website where people buy products.

"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 programs", stated Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson.

The partnership benefits both companies.

Alibaba said the deal is aimed at providing travel solutions for China's growing middle class.

"We are proud to join forces with Marriott International - combining our large-scale consumer base, leading-edge technology and consumer insights with their unparalleled hospitality expertise", said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group.