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Marriott expands mobile platform to integrate with iBeacons

Marriott claims the strategy is the first implementation by a major hotel to offer geo-targeted mobile offers during stay. The recently announced LocalPerks program will tie in with Marriott Rewards for savvy travelers to enjoy instant gratification via time sensitive offers from the hotelier’s brands and its partners.

“Assuming Marriott is capable of building individual knowledge and understanding the consumers individual wants and needs, consumers will experience that the communication will be more relevant and valuable while moving or interacting with them,” said Hans Willems, marketing and business development executive at BlueConic, Boston.

“They are willing to buy more, stay longer customer and refer the company to others.”

Increasing conversions via location
Using geo-tracking and iBeacon technology, visitors and hotel guests with the Marriott Mobile Guest Services app will receive personalized offers based on their precise location within in the hotel.  Offers will be tailored to specific resort locale, ranging from food and beverage to spa to golf.

Members will be able to choose from a variety of experiences during or between stays through push messaging to their mobile devices. The ability to serve target consumers with real-time offers that are relevant in context and proximity provides marketers with a hook to drive direct response.

While geo-targeting across advertising channels such as Web, TV and print is nothing new, on mobile the strategy evolves to enable marketers to reach consumers on the move.

LocalPerks launches July 24 at the San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina followed by the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront and Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa. Future plans for LocalPerks include Marriott Rewards offers available locally in the neighborhoods surrounding participating hotels.

Geo-locational promotions will offer a number of benefits to Marriott. The first, obvious though it may sound, is that by enabling reach a location-specific audience in a particular region or city, target guests are selected with greater precision, and wasted impressions are reduced.

By focusing on the parts of its audience to whom various offers are most relevant, Marriott can increase the inclination of consumers to engage with the message, ultimately driving up return on investment, whereas millennials define service as personalization and they report far more willingness than older generations to allow access to their personal data when they feel they receive a tangible benefit in return.

LocalPerks follows the launch of PlusPoints in May 2014 that enables members to earn rewards points through everyday social behaviors, such as tweets, retweets, check in on Facebook and Instagram posts.

Marriott Rewards members enrolled in PlusPoints receive 25 points each time they share content about Marriott Rewards or participating hotels using the hashtag #MRPoints. Members can earn points daily and see them accumulate in real time.

To support the introduction of LocalPerks, Marriott Rewards will communicate with members in a targeted marketing campaign using digital and social media, member communication and event marketing. The creative will use the visual cues of quotation marks to signal an offer that a member can jump on. The campaign also encourages members to share their travel experiences using #LoveMarriottRewards and #MRPoints.

Targeting Next Gen travelers
With Marriott in talks of developing two new hotel brands aimed at millennials – Moxy and AC Hotels by Marriott— along with revamping its existing properties to be more digitally agile, it is no surprise the hotelier is designing with youth in mind.

A Marriott executive at the Mcommerce Summitt: State of Mobile Commerce 2014 in May, said that the international hotel brand is making changes to its approach to customer experience by accounting for a predicted 76 percent increase in consumers ages 18 to 40 within six years.

Marriott expressed plans to reposition its loyalty with Gen X and Y who differ from traditional travelers characterized by their use of mobile devices which is three times greater than any other segment. To create a sense of loyalty in these guests who expect more while traveling, Marriott’s mobile check-in, check-out and service request features improve guest experience and overall hotel perception.

Mobile adds to their 24/7 connected lifestyles, and access to unlimited information has major implications for travel. They want products, services, experiences and information that deliver something different and do not duplicate what they already have or know.

Younger consumers also want content specifically tailored to them, not intended for mass consumption.

To be able to start the transaction digitally and finish it at the hotel, Marriott has eliminated guest uncertainty by assuring them that upon arrival, their needs will have already been met, and their room waiting for them.

Global brands now have the advantage of collecting a tremendous amount of data on travelers, who expect that brands will know their preferences, dislikes and desire for experiences to be as technically-savvy as they for a seamless and uninterrupted journey.

“Creating compelling individual experiences using beacons is the first step to convince consumers to opt-in and use it,” Mr. Willems said.

“Individual location information in buildings is a huge opportunity and crucial to deliver experiences and guide individual customer journey’s. Both online and in stores.”

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