(Yicai Global) Aug.8 -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. [NYSE:BABA] and Marriott International Inc. [NASDAQ: MAR] formed partnership to actively promote their own travel services. Marriott International is the world's largest hotel operator, with more than 6,000 hotels worldwide.
The two sides announced yesterday they will set up a joint venture to promote Marriott International's hotels, including Marriott hotels, Sheraton and Ritz-Carlton hotels on Alibaba's Fliggy website, an integrated travel service platform. The joint statement said that the two sides will link their loyalty programs and carry out promotion activities to attract Chinese tourists.
China is now the world's largest source of outbound travelers, with a market still growing rapidly. Statistics show that in 2016, Chinese tourists spent more than USD100 billion on overseas travel, a phenomenon that is now triggering changes in the global tourism industry.
The increase in the number of Chinese tourists has led to mergers and acquisitions and partnerships between foreign chain hotels and domestic counterparts. Marriott and rivals are trying to attract more travelers and enhance their brand loyalty. Now they are working with Airbnb Inc. and alternative competitors to compete for customers and try to reduce the fees paid to online travel firms such as Priceline Group Inc. and Expedia Inc.
In 2015, Alibaba's affiliated company Ant Financial Services Group and Marriott set up a joint venture to allow customers to pay their hotel and related costs through AliPay.