Watch: The lowdown on the Marriott-Alibaba joint venture

Marriott's Craig Smith on reaching half a billion Chinese travelers.

Last week, Marriott International and Alibaba announced a joint venture that they claimed will "redefine the travel experience for the hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers traveling abroad and domestically every year".

According to the companies, the joint venture will manage Marriott’s storefront on Fliggy (Alibaba’s travel service platform), 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 customised for Chinese travelers.

Campaign Asia-Pacific trained its cameras on Craig Smith, president and managing director of Asia Pacific for Marriott International, to discuss the JV in more detail. The video above covers:

  • 0:55: How the JV started to materialise 1.5 years ago between Alibaba head Jack Ma and Arne Sorenson, the president and CEO of Marriott International.
  • 3:28: Why travelling is not just about booking hotels and flights.
  • 5:25: How Alibaba's data about purchase history and services to facilitate visa applications may benefit Marriott. 
  • 6:27: Why Smith feels like he's a "striker of a football team" regarding the role he played in the JV.
  • 7:16: What resources, whether money or manpower, each party put into the JV.
  • 8:30: Whether Marriott considered Fliggy's competitor, Ctrip, before inking the deal.
  • 12:18: Why FOMO drives today's millennial travellers and what they buy as a result.
  • 15:45: What Smith thinks of the statement, "A foreign visitor is the same as an export".
  • 16:10: Which major pain point still exists for both Chinese and Western tourists.
  • 17:20: Why governments shouldn't be "rolling out the red carpet and then rolling out the red tape".
Campaign China

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