The only person not in the photograph, above and left, is Alibaba key player Jack Ma – but never mind, Marriott International’s President and CEO Arne Sorenson turned up to seal the luxury hotel giant’s union with Alibaba. As Sorenson said, “We have long admired Alibaba’s digital expertise and deep understanding of Chinese consumers’ needs and behaviour. By forming this partnership, we are pairing our hospitality expertise with Alibaba’s digital travel platform, retail expertise and digital payment platform, Alipay, and driving membership to our loyalty programs. With the growing number of Chinese consumers exploring new destinations, this venture will introduce our hotels worldwide to this new and growing travelling class.” Among other benefits, the joint venture will deliver user-friendly technology solutions that will open up a world of travel options for Chinese consumers. Marriott will offer access to private concerts, family-focused experiences, and court-side seats at sporting and other events through Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Moments and Marriott Rewards Moments programmes,and members of Alibaba’s own loyalty programme will benefit from Marriott’s SPG ambassador programme. In addition, Alipay will be accepted at Marriott hotels in select global markets with further expansion expected globally.
Shown at the signing in Shanghai, on August 7th, 2017, are, from left, Marriott’s CEO Greater China, Stephen Ho; Chief SMO Officer Asia Pacific Peggy Fang Roe; President/MD Asia Pacific, Craig Smith, and Arne Sorenson. Contiuint to the right are, from Alibaba, CEO Daniel Zhang; VP, and President Alibaba’s Fliggy, Li ShaoHua; Head of Alibaba’s Mobile Taobao, Jiang Fan, and VP Fliggy, David Chai.