How Alibaba is boosting conversion, improving the consumer experience and extending airline reach

Jerry Hu

Vice President, Alibaba

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China is the world’s largest e-commerce market by sales volumes. On Singles Day - an alternative to Valentine’s Day for singles in China that has become one of the world’s largest online shopping events -Alibaba generated US$17.8 billion in 2016, up almost 25% from the previous year. Put into context, our 11 November Singles Day sales – that one day - would place us as the 11th largest country in the world in terms of annual eCommerce sales. And 82% of that day’s sales were through a mobile device.

asian woman working on a computer


This shows that Chinese consumers have their own unique online habits and expectations, and they can’t be treated like any other global consumer. Companies need to adapt their business practices to these unique characteristics in order to be successful. And this is where Alibaba’s metasearch site, Fliggy (formerly Alitrip), comes in for airlines.

Given the volume of traffic and transactions across Fliggy and Alibaba’s other e-commerce sites, we have built up a deep understanding of our consumers. This is why 48 airlines of diverse business models have turned to Fliggy to connect their brands with our network of users.

Traffic Acquisition

Traffic acquisitionis critical in the digital world, especially so for brands that are unfamiliar in a particular market. Thanks to the traffic Fliggy gets, we have lots of behavioural data, which we can make available to airlines in a highly targeted, cost-efficient and effective way. This is particularly attractive when compared to the cost of trying to build online brand presence and drive customer traffic to local airline.coms through other online marketing initiatives. Additionally, our Flagship Stores allow airlines to really get their brand across by personalising their offers, content and messaging to consumers.

We partnered with Amadeus to improve the consumer experience and boost conversion for airlines in our channel through assisted bookings.Amadeus Metabookingallows travellers to book flights directly with an airline through its Flagship Store without leaving our platform. This avoids potential drop-offs and lost bookings associated with redirecting traffic to airline websites. It’s a better user experience for our travellers, particularly on mobile, and better business for both airlines and Fliggy.

Partnering with Airlines

In addition to giving us highly accurate data and a lot of flexibility in how we can partner with airlines, Amadeus’ assisted bookings technology provides us with huge efficiency gains when it comes down to airline content integration. Because the solution gives us access to all the airline travel offers aggregated in the Amadeus distribution channel, we can quickly integrate that content on our site with no extra effort for our airline partners.

This helps us overcome the challenge of having to integrate content from each airline individually and navigate through the myriad of different API standards airlines use. It’s a lot faster to go to market, meaning we can free up development resources to focus on the consumer experience rather than back-end technical integrations. With more and more airlines coming on-board, we are very happy with the results of our collaboration with Amadeus. And because of the flexibility of the assisted bookings technology, we can work more closely with airlines and help them design market-specific travel offers.

As we look to the future, merchandising and ancillary sales will be a key focus and I’m confident Amadeus will be an indispensable partner in this area. I’m excited about the possibilities of empowering airlines to sell better and generate more revenues by combining Alibaba’s and Fliggy’s huge customer base with Amadeus’ assisted bookings technology. It really is a win-win-win situation for all.


Asia Pacific, China, Travel Platform