Marriott International and Ant Financial Services Group, an independent financial group and an ecosystem partner of Alibaba Group, announced today an agreement to roll out Alipay, an innovative payment option, to hotels and resorts under Marriott International’s brands. With this agreement, guests at select Marriott International hotels will be given the option to pay for their hotel stays, food and beverage purchases as well as for meeting and event bookings using Alipay on their smartphones. The agreement represents another step in Marriott’s creation of a complete mobile-powered travel experience that is effortless, seamless and more rewarding for its guests. Working with China’s largest e-payments provider, Marriott International will initially activate Alipay at 10 hotels in greater China, gradually expanding to other hotels in China and across Asia by mid-2016. To better serve China visitors traveling abroad, Marriott also expects to introduce Alipay to properties in key markets outside Asia by the end of 2016. Alipay currently has 400 million registered users and 200 financial institution partners. It handles over 120 million transactions daily, of which mobile payment accounts for more than half. Hotel guests can scan their unique QR code or barcode at check-out to settle their bills, or pre-pay before arrival – an innovative payment option will fast-track check-outs. For a limited time at participating hotels, Marriott Rewards members who book through Marriott’s direct channels like Marriott.com or Marriott.com.cn and use Alipay can enjoy a discount of up to 8 percent on ‘best available rate’ or ‘best available rate with breakfast’. The Chinese International Travel monitor reports that 59 percent of Chinese International Travelers rate local payment solutions as the second most important feature a hotel should have after free Wi-Fi. Alipay is one of the most trusted and popular mobile payment options with Chinese travelers, who lead the world in numbers of outbound tourists and purchasing power. It is expected that Chinese outbound travelers will reach 200 million by 2020. With this growth, Marriott expects Alipay to become an important payment method for the travel and meetings industry in Asia with broadening adoption outside of China. Speaking at the launch event, Craig S. Smith, President & Managing Director of Marriott International, Asia Pacific said, “Marriott International is playing a leading role in this seminal transformation within the hospitality sector, which will ultimately allow travelers and meeting planners from China and abroad to pay in a more streamlined, seamless and digital way with their mobile device.” “We are delighted to work with Ant Financial Services Group. Leveraging the cutting-edge technology of Alipay and its significant 80 percent market share in China, Marriott is going beyond just comfort and customization at the property level, to meet the needs of travelers in a way that no other global hotel brand does today. It is a real demonstration of how we aim to deliver more local and innovative services to our customers.” Sabrina Peng, President of Ant Financial’s international business unit said, “Alipay is the future of payments, and our vision is to better serve our users, even when they are traveling. We approached Marriott International because of its strong brand recognition and growth plan in Asia and around the world, making it an ideal partner for Alipay. We see this relationship as the beginning of a deeper collaboration between the two brands, all with the Chinese consumer in mind.”