Marriott International signs up with Alibaba's OTA Alitrip
Marriott International has become the first major global hotel chain to run its own distribution channel on Alitrip.
Tnooz, Martin Cowen - Marriott International has become the first major global hotel chain to run its own distribution channel on Alitrip, the standalone travel brand owned by China’s global internet giant Alibaba Group.
Alitrip's CEO Xiaohua Li and Marriott International's MD Craig S. Smith
A joint statement quoted Craig Smith, president and managing director of Marriott International Asia-Pacific, who said that Marriott’s directly-operated online flagship store on Alitrip would sell Marriott properties outside China as well as domestic hotels.
Smith said the move would give Marriott a headstart in its bid to become “the favorite global brand for China’s hundreds of millions of internet users…”
Marriott and Alitrip also “plan to explore” bringing the Marriott inventory into Alitrip’s “post post pay” initiative, launched on the back of Alibaba’s “Hotel of the Future.”
“Post post pay” allows certain guests with an Alipay account not only to reserve rooms through Alitrip without paying a deposit but also enjoy express check-out. Alipay is partly owned by Alibaba.
Guests are vetted by Sesame, a credit agency in which Alibaba also has a stake, which allows the guest to pay for their room and any other hotel expenses spend directly from their Alipay account rather than at the desk upon check out.
A few months ago Marriott International announced that it was rolling out plans to introduce Alipay as a payment option for Chinese guests across its entire portfolio.
Alibaba launched Alitrip as a standalone brand just over a year ago, and has been relatively quiet, at least in public, about its progress so far. But in light of other major developments in the Chinese online travel market – the Qunar/Ctrip/Baidu share swap being the most recent – Alitrip is starting to stir.
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