- Marriott updated its storefront on Fliggy, Alibaba's travel service app, to appeal to Chinese travelers, according to a press release. The hotel chain rolled out Post Post Pay (PPP), a credit-based hotel payment feature that lets travelers at more than 1,000 locations access express checkout and manage their hotel stay via smartphone.
- The new storefront this month now features approximately 6,000 hotels from across Marriott International's global inventory of 30 brands, presented in a "Chinese traveler-friendly layout," such as a search function tailored to Chinese consumers and customized local activity recommendations.
- Marriott plans to add travel planning services in Mandarin in the coming months, along with VIP member experiences and other services as the hotelier seeks to appeal to outbound travelers from China.
Mobile is an increasingly important part of the travel experience for smartphone owners around the world. Marriott is among the companies seeking to cater to Chinese visitors as the country’s growing middle class shows its increased spending power abroad. These consumers are also mobile-savvy, so they're likely to embrace the ability to manage their travel via mobile and access activity recommendations on their phones.
Alibaba, which helped to transform e-commerce in China, is also changing the way tourists pay for travel with a mobile device. Its PPP program, which Alibaba's Fliggy introduced in March 2015, is used by more than 100,000 hotels across mainland China. Its latest partnership with Marriott is the first time the PPP program is going global, giving tourists more options for mobile capabilities as they travel abroad. More than 90% Chinese tourists would use mobile payment overseas given the option, according to a survey by Nielsen and Alipay, Alibaba's mobile payment service. About 65% of Chinese tourists have used mobile payment while traveling overseas, compared with only 11% of non-Chinese tourists, the survey found.
Chinese tourists will expand their overseas spending to $429 billion in 2021 from $73 billion 2011, according to an estimate by Credit Lyonaisse. The number of Chinese tourists traveling abroad grew 7% to 131 million in 2017 from the prior year, according to the China National Tourism Administration. Average spending overseas was $5,565 per tourist last year and is forecast to grow to $5,715 this year.