Marriott earnings spotlights Alibaba partnership

Alibaba is a powerful platform to tap into rising demand from China.

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During Marriott International’s earnings call for the first quarter of 2019, company CEO Arne Sorenson revealed revenue stemming from its Alibaba channel more than tripled year-on-year.

Meanwhile, sign-ups from China in the company’s Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program more than doubled year-on-year, with Chinese customers accounting 40% of new enrollments.

Marriott and Alibaba formed a joint venture in 2017 to promote the hotel group’s offering on the latter’s Fliggy travel service. The two companies also created links between their loyalty programs.

The growth of Marriott’s China customer base is in step with the rise of Chinese incomes and demand for travel, as well as Alibaba’s influence as a marketing platform to reach Chinese consumers.

Fliggy has access to about 700 million consumers across Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms, and itself counts more than 200 million registered users.

In 2018, Chinese travelers spent more than USD 764 billion (RMB 5.13 trillion) domestically, up 12.3% year-on-year, and USD 120 billion overseas, up 20% in the same period, according to official data.