Theodore Slate - Nov 11, 2019
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Accor has just signed a strategic partnership with Alibaba, the e-commerce giant. A five-year agreement which supports the strong ambitions of the hotel group in the Chinese market.

“Being where the Chinese are” to gain visibility: that’s the Accor group mantra that had already signed with Ctrip in 2018. Convinced that any growth regarding Chinese customers is possible only through strong partnerships, the hotel group continues its offensive with the signing of a new alliance, this time with the Chines e-commerce giant, Alibaba.

This agreement covers the next five years and will allow the hotel group to benefit from Alibaba’s strength, particularly relying on its travel branch, Fliggy. Through this “strategic alliance”, Accor will now be able to target approximately 700 million customers from Alibaba’s various markets. Chinese customers will be able to make various reservations (hotels, restaurants, entertainment…) and pay by Alipay. The collaboration with Alibaba is not entirely new: an Accor store has already been part of the Fliggy site since 2016. Accor has thus, for several consecutive years, been counted first among various rankings and has achieved a record turnover among international hotel groups.

Thus, the hotel group pushes the slider even further this time, developing a hotel offer specifically dedicated to Chinese clientele. Called “Haoke” (which means “Welcome”), this accreditation program will guarantee that the Accor hotels concerned will welcome this clientele by offering information in Chinese, will include Chinese dishes on the menu, will recruit sino-phone staff and will offer other services and payment systems that meet their needs.

This agreement is strategic for more than one reason. It will also be a catalyst for the deployment in China of the hotel group’s new loyalty program, “ALL – Accor Live Limitless”, which the hotel group has been working on for months. A program also inspired by what Alibaba has achieved with its 88 Club, said Maud Bailly, Chief Digital Officer of the Accor group last March, at China Connect. By uniting brands from different worlds (travel, leisure, health, banking…), Alibaba has been able to “create an ecosystem” that inspires the hotel group, she explained. At the time of this writing, Accor’s loyalty program has been adopted by 3 million Chinese customers (+33% compared to 2017).

The hotel group’s goal is to quadruple the number of Chinese customers and double the number of Chinese guests who are members of its new loyalty program.

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