Western players cooperate with Chinese companies to satisfy travellers

Acquisitions and mergers were main characters between the second half of 2016 and 2017. In September 2016, Marriott acquired Starwood Hotels and Resorts for 14bn euros, creating the biggest hotel chain worldwide. Meanwhile, also OTAs and travel marketplaces were becoming familiar with this consolidation trend: Priceline Group completed the purchase of Momondo for about 442mn euros (550mn US dollars) to support Kayak, while Airbnb acquired Luxury Retreats for 200-300mn dollars (160-240mn euros).

As we have already reported, in this consolidation phase Amadeus published “Online Travel 2020. Evolve, Expand or Expire”, foreseeing a “Travel Marketplace” scenario, described as a collaboration among different players of the Travel & Tourism industry (OTAs, airlines, hotels and others).

In particular, Chinese players started a phase of intense collaboration with the Western players of the Travel & Tourism industry. One of the biggest deals was the Chinese colossus Ctrip acquiring the British metasearch engine Skyscanner for 1.64bn euros (1.7bn dollars).

Last August, Marriott International Inc announced a joint venture with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the Chinese multinational ecommerce, retail, Internet, AI and technology conglomerate, in order to enhance the travel experience of millions of Chinese tourists travelling worldwide. In fact, as reported by Marriott International, Chinese travellers are expected to take about 700 million trips over the next five years. 4Hoteliers reports that this joint venture will manage Marriott’s storefront on Fliggy, namely Alibaba’s travel service platform. It will also market directly to Alibaba’s customer base, provide a link between Marriott’s and Alibaba’s loyalty program and support Marriott hotels globally with content, programmes and promotions customised for Chinese travellers.
As we have already reported, Chinese travellers are increasingly demanding for high-quality and luxury experiences. In fact, the joint venture aims to provide personalised experiences easy to organise, wallet free payments and new member benefits to enhance loyalty.

At Twissen we observed that Chinese companies are increasingly investing in western players of the Travel & Tourism industry. Meanwhile, western companies can benefit from collaborations with Chinese players, attracting more customers by personalising travel experiences.