The Ascott Limited is the world’s first serviced residence company to partner with Alitrip as Chinese tourists shift towards independent travelA first for any serviced residence company, The Ascott Limited (Ascott) will make available its global network of serviced residences on Alitrip, an online travel service platform created by Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group.
Ascott already has 24 of its Chinese properties, with 4,300 apartment units available for booking, listed on Alitrip through a directly operated online flagship store. Ascott will list its global network of more than 26,000 apartment units operating in over 60 cities on the one-stop online travel platform by June this year. The global partnership will allow Ascott to increase its access to over 100 million Chinese travellers currently served by Alitrip.
Mr Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Ascott is delighted to be the world’s first serviced residence company to form this global partnership with Alitrip. Chinese travellers can look forward to even more travel options on our Alitrip store, when Ascott doubles its portfolio to 80,000 units globally by 2020. China is the world’s second largest economy, and rising incomes are driving domestic travel and making it the world’s biggest outbound travel market. These are potential customers for Ascott and our penetration of the Chinese market is already contributing to Ascott’s business worldwide.”
“Chinese travellers are amongst Ascott’s top customers at our properties globally with revenue surging by 36% year-on-year. Our serviced residences are ideal for Chinese families who enjoy the privacy of individual bedrooms and the convenience of a kitchen within a spacious apartment. Ascott’s partnership with Alitrip follows our recent investment in Tujia.com International, China’s largest online apartment sharing platform where our properties outside of China will also be available for booking by first quarter of this year.”
Mr Lee elaborated: “With 668 million citizens online, China is home to the world’s largest community of Internet users and consumers are increasingly using social channels as well as websites to review, book and pay for their holidays at home or abroad. As Chinese travellers become increasingly tech-savvy and independent, they prefer to customise their travel itineraries, with more than 70% of outbound travellers in 2014 booking trips on their own rather than joining tour groups, we foresee further growth in independent travel. Our strategic partnerships with Alitrip and Tujia.com International reinforce Ascott’s commitment to create a seamless O2O (Offline-to-Online and Online-to-Offline) experience for our guests as we reach out to these hundreds of millions of Internet and smartphone users in China.”
The latest partnership with Alitrip follows Ascott’s recent collaborations with various online and technology leaders. In August 2015, Ascott invested in Tujia.com International to harness growth opportunities in the O2O space. In April 2015, Ascott announced its collaboration with Samsung Asia Pte Ltd to offer its guests a smart living experience using the Internet of Things. Ascott aims to roll out smart home technologies to its serviced residences across over 20 countries globally from 2016 onwards.