Alibaba, Marriott JV to Capitalize on Growing Chinese Online Travel Market

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The retailer has formed a joint venture with Marriott International that will make it easy for Chinese consumers to book hotel rooms across the 30 brands managed by the US hotelier.

Alibaba will eventually run Marriott's websites and apps, Linnartz said. The program will market directly to Alibaba's customer base, provide a link between Marriott's loyalty programs and Alibaba's loyalty program, and support Marriott hotels globally with content, programs and promotions customized for the Chinese traveler.

The long-term market opportunity in China is huge for companies targeting both domestic and outbound Chinese travelers, according to Rich Hightower, an equity analyst with Evercore ISI.

The hotel company said it will also accept Alipay, the online payment platform owned by Alibaba affiliate company Ant Financial. It has almost 300 hotels in China and around 300 hotels in the pipeline.

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With over 6,100 properties worldwide, Marriott is planning to double its presence in China by the end of this year.

Leveraging the e-commerce titan's knowledge of Chinese consumer preference in the digital space, the new venture will deliver VIP travel packages, exclusive benefits to each company's membership clubs, as well as personalized trip-planning services, the companies said at a joint news conference in Shanghai.

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

Shares of Marriott are up 1.49% on the news.

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