Paris-based hospitality company Accor and Chinese retail commerce business Alibaba Group are forming a “strategic collaboration” to develop a series of digital applications and loyalty programs over the next five years in a bid to bring more Chinese travelers to Accor’s hotels.
The announcement was made at a special ceremony in Beijing during the 2019 China International Import Expo, where Accor was among the delegation of French companies accompanying President Emmanuel Macron on a state visit to China.
According to Accor, the collaboration would “leverage Alibaba’s nearly 700 million consumers across its China retail marketplaces to enable more Chinese travelers to enjoy Accor’s world-class consumer offerings.” Alibaba’s travel arm, Fliggy, will let users book hotels (as well as access other services) and pay via Alipay, a digital payment service operated by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial.
Accor also will look to attract Chinese travelers through its “Haoke” program, geared toward Chinese travelers. Haoke, which means “welcome” in Chinese, certifies Accor’s hotels for Chinese guests by adding Chinese dishes on menus, Chinese-speaking staff and other services and payment systems that meet the needs of Chinese travelers.
The collaboration between Accor and Alibaba will be instrumental to the roll-out of Accor’s soon-to-be-launched lifestyle loyalty program, ALL-Accor Live Limitless. Alibaba will make the program’s services and benefits available to its massive consumer base, leveraging its ecosystem, consumer insights and digital marketing capabilities, accelerating the roll-out of ALL in China and around the world.
“China’s importance to the world’s tourism industry and this key collaboration with Alibaba will symbolically strengthen economic ties between China and France, while giving Chinese travelers access to exciting events and benefits through ALL,” stated Accor Chairman/CEO Sebastien Bazin.
“Over the past 20 years, Alibaba has formed two flywheels with one focused on consumers and the other on enterprises," said Daniel Zhang, executive chairman/CEO of Alibaba Group. “Our consumer-facing business facilitates and stimulates consumption, of which travel consumption is an important segment. Through the Alibaba business operating system, we enable tourism industry partners such as Accor to fully digitize their business operations, from sales to marketing, brand building to member management and service innovations.”
The partnership, said Gary Rosen, chairman/COO of Accor Greater China, is “extremely significant” for Accor. ”Alibaba is the world’s leading e-commerce giant spearheading the global digital scene. Through our partnership, we will revolutionize the industry through our disruptive lifestyle loyalty program, ALL-Accor Live Limitless. ALL forms an integral part of Accor’s aggressive and visionary digital strategy leveraging the growing Chinese travel market. This collaboration with Alibaba will be a significant move for both companies as we work toward achieving common goals while offering an increased number of surprisingly dynamic options for Chinese world travelers. Our ultimate ambition is to add unforgettable value every day in our customers’ lives, no matter where they live, work or play.”