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Marriott streamlines hotel bookings via mobile apps, site

Marriott International Inc. is helping consumers book hotels and travel plans via new mobile offerings such as applications and an optimized site.

The company launched the Marriott International app across BlackBerry, Android and iPhone devices. Additionally, Marriott has revamped its mobile site.

“Marriott’s core strategy is that we take good care of our customers once they check in to their rooms and we make it easy to book a room,” said George Corbin, vice president of ecommerce strategy at Marriott, Bethesda, MD.

“But one opportunity we haven’t had is to help consumers with all the steps between, and mobile is a chance to let us extend through more steps of the travel journey,” he said.

Marriott owns and operates hotels and resorts in more than 70 countries

Streamlined booking
Consumers can download the apps for free from Apple, Android and BlackBerry app stores or scan a QR code featured on Marriott’s Web site that directs users to their respective app store.

Additionally, users can text the keyword Marriott1 to the short code  467467.

The app lets travelers  make  reservations at more than 3,600 Marriott locations and consumers can use the app to find the nearest location.

Consumers can also  access or set up their Marriott Rewards account, as well as view or cancel reservations.

Additionally, the app features  hotel photos, maps and amenities.

“We developed the apps based on what consumers have told us they wanted to do, which includes researching and booking trips,” said Andrew Haynes, director of ecommerce marketing strategy at Marriott.

Travelers in unfamiliar citiescan view guides with city-specific tips, including restaurant and event recommendations

The app features a click-to-call function that lets users call for help with Marriott reservations.

“We always hear feedback that what makes a good stay from a great stay is being able to go to a great local restaurant or show while in town,” Mr. Corbin said.

On-the-go travel
By launching on three platforms and rolling out a mobile site at the same time, Marriott is proving it is a force to reckon with in the mobile travel space.

The company recognizes that in order to get on board with its consumers, Marriott  has to be on every available platform.

According to Mr. Corbin, the company sees an average of 8 percent of bookings that are made for the same day.
However, almost 50 percent of mobile bookings are made for same-day reservations.

“There is a certain immediacy from mobile consumers when they’re booking flights because they’re looking for access and speed,” Mr. Corbin said.

Marriott was an early adopter of mobile when its optimized site debuted in 2008.
Ten months after adding booking features to the site, the company reportedly grossed $1.25 million in revenue (see story).

“Mobile is transforming the travel industry because it puts the journey in the palm of your hand,” Mr. Corbin said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York