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Marriott targets more business with enhanced mobile offering

Eyeing more business, Marriott International Inc. is letting travelers reserve hotel rooms using their mobile phone.

The Marriott Web site at has been around for about two years. But it has been upgraded to let people reserve, cancel rooms and check their Marriot Rewards account balance.

“Our mobile site was very basic until now,” said John Wolf, spokesman for Marriott, Washington.

In fact, the mobie site served primarily as an informational tool.

With the new enhancements, users of the site can find and book a hotel, view their existing reservation and even cancel a booking.

There is also a click-to-call action that connects the user to a Marriott operator for further assistance if needed.

Usablenet created Marriott’s mobile site.

Two years ago, Marriott tested mobile wireless check-in for Microsoft’s Windows Mobile-powered devices.

A select group of travelers to the Redmond, WA-based Marriott Town Center tested the service.

During testing, guests with Windows Mobile-powered smartphones running the PocketPC Platform could simply download and install Marriott’s seamless mobility software from

“After testing and research we did not go forward with this initiative because there are still a lot of challenges that need to be addressed,” Mr. Wolf said.

“With airports, mobile check-in works because the paper ticket can be printed out,” he said. “With hotels there’s a problem because the traveler needs to get a room key and it cannot be printed out.” 

Marriott is a lodging company with nearly 2,800 properties in the United States and 67 other countries and territories.

Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names.

But the Marriott isn’t the only hotel chain investing in mobile.

Las Vegas’ Orleans Stadium Hotel and Casino used mobile to promote a Steve Miller Band performance and create a database of concert-goers for future communication (see story).

Also, The Wyndham hotel chain ran a mobile campaign for its Days Inn Business Place division to compile a database of prospects for remarketing (see story).

Motel 6 did a mobile marketing campaign to influence the buying behavior of Hispanics who are traveling (see story).

Marriott is forging its way into mobile as the technology enables a better user experience.

“The enhancements made to the site are the result of smarter smartphones, with more capabilities, and our site is following that trend.” Mr. Wolf said.

“We are dedicated to providing useful services for our customers, whether they are in the hotel or on the road,” he said.