Shanghai, China, March 30, 2014 – Alitrip (www.alitrip.com), an online travel booking platform of Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), announced its "Hotel of the Future" strategy to help the hotel industry continue to improve operational efficiency and enhance users' experience through innovation and Alitrip integration. "Post Post Pay," a major service of the first phase of "Hotel of the Future," allows customers with a high credit rating to reserve hotel rooms through Alitrip without paying a deposit and to enjoy express check-out service. As of today, approximately 5,500 hotels in China, including high-end hotel brands such as Starwood, Shangri-La, Jinling, New Century and Landison as well as budget hotel groups such as Home Inn, Huazhu, Podinns, Yinzuo, 100 inn, have joined the program.
"'Hotel of the Future' is a one-stop solution for the hotel industry based on Alitrip's five key areas of focus: efficiency, marketing, and customer loyalty, safety and creditworthiness. Under the program, Alitrip will explore the launch of a greater variety of services, such as self-selection of hotel rooms and self check-in system. Alitrip also plans to boost collaboration among independent hoteliers and the platform to encourage the integration of various hotel membership schemes," said Li Shaohua, General Manager of Alitrip. "Through joint industry efforts, 'Hotel of the Future' will become the new industry model."
"'Hotel of the Future' is set to be a catalyst for the hotel industry." said Zhang Rungang, Chairman of China Tourist Hotel Association. "The new online travel booking platform not only improves hotels' efficiency, but also enhances the guest experience, with the Internet+ hotel model holding great potential for development."
Guests to Stay First and Pay Later
"Post Post Pay" is a credit-based hotel service system launched by Alitrip and Sesame Credit, a credit agency of Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba's related company. Upon check-in, travelers whose credit scores make them eligible for "Post Post Pay" do not need to provide their credit card information for room deposits, so check-in is faster and travelers enjoy greater data privacy. As room rate and incidental room expenses are automatically debited from users' Alipay accounts, guests only need to return their room keys at reception and skip other check-out procedures, speeding departure.
Sesame Credit can also help address the common problem of guest no-shows. As hoteliers can better determine customers' creditworthiness in advance, it is anticipated that hoteliers can reduce the industry average no-show rate of 40% to 50% to under 30%.
"Post Post Pay" is based on Sesame Credit's scoring system, which assesses customer creditworthiness by tapping into Alibaba's vast online ecosystem and Ant Financial's online financial data, and by leveraging big data and cloud computing technology. Sesame scores are calculated using five factors, including credit history, behavioral preference, fulfillment capability, personal attributes and social network. Scores range from 350 to 950 points; the higher the score, the higher the creditworthiness. Alipay real name registered users with score of 600 points or higher are eligible for Post Post Pay.
To date, approximately 5,500 hotels in China have joined the "Post Post Pay" program. Starwood, one of the first international hotel groups to join, is using its Le Royal Meridien Shanghai Hotel as a pilot project and plans to extend the service to its other hotels in Greater China gradually. "Starwood is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies globally, and we always strive to better meet the needs of our guests," said Qian Jin, Starwood President of Greater China. "We are committed to providing a better customer experience through innovation, same as Alibaba Group."
"Hotel of the Future": a One-Stop Solution for the Hotel Industry
In September 2014, Alibaba Group invested in Beijing Shiji Information Technology Co. Ltd (Shiji Information). Shiji Information is a leading provider of information management systems to five-star hotels in China, it is primarily engaged in the development and sale of hotel information management system software, system integration and technical service. Aliyun, Alibaba Group's cloud computing subsidiary, will develop a cloud computing service platform for the hotel industry with Shiji Information and a number of leading industry solution providers.
By leveraging Aliyun's cloud computing and big data services, companies can develop a variety of applications for the hotel industry, including a full range of online services such as check-in, catering, sales and reservations, and membership programs. The hotel industry can also use Aliyun services to analyze business and customer data, enhancing their capabilities in management and marketing.
The use of credit data and greater collaboration, networking and information exchange in the hotel industry can improve people's travel experience. In the future, Alitrip will look into launching more services together with the hotel industry. Through Sesame Credit's credit-scoring system and Alibaba Group's data, Alitrip aspires to introduce innovations to the travel industry.
Previously known as "Taobao Travel," Alitrip (www.alitrip.com) was established as an independent online travel booking platform in October 2014. It currently has a large number of quality merchants on its platform providing Chinese consumers with a range of products and services including domestic and international flight tickets, hotel bookings, vacation packages and visa applications. Alitrip is dedicated to creating value for consumers by offering wide product selections, customized products, comprehensive after-sales protection and an innovative user experience. Alitrip is a business within Alibaba Group.