Alibaba and Marriott enter into a JV for a digital experience

Alibaba Group and Marriott International have joined hands for a digital partnership to transform the face of travel for Chinese tourists. Their joint venture (JV) would crisscross the networks of both parties, pulling together resources onto platforms that will streamline and upgrade the travel experiences for the millions of Chinese tourists.

The partnership will focus on bringing Alibaba’s technological know-how to Marriott’s hotel services. Alibaba’s massive consumer base will provide Marriott with in-depth knowledge about customers’ habits and preferences, allowing them to create highly personalised experiences from within the Marriott brand.

“Together, we are elevating and redefining the travel experience for Chinese consumers to be more seamless and personalised as they embark on adventures to discover the world,” said, Daniel Zhang, CEO, Alibaba Group.  

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

Alibaba’s travel service Fliggy will manage Marriott’s digital presence on its platform, as well as the hotel’s Chinese-language digital channels, including Marriott.com and Starwoodhotels.com, as well as their mobile apps, Mobile Marriott and SPG. Alibaba will be responsible for handling content production, programming and promotions operations targeted at Chinese travellers.

According to reports, the country’s outbound market is expected to triple the size of Japan’s by 2020, signalling a huge opportunity for hoteliers and travel industry players. The venture will produce customisable trip-planning services, VIP travel experiences and exclusive benefits for preferred customers. Marriott hotels will also begin accepting Alipay as a central form of payment.

Through the integration of both companies’ services and big data operations, Alibaba and Marriott will be able to more effectively create packages and programs that will appeal to their customers.