When I started in the hotel business 52 years ago, the first impression customers had of our hotels was the lobby when they walked through the front doors. But in this digital age, often the first impression comes when they visit Marriott.com. It's our digital front door.
Today, when you visit the site, you'll notice the front door looks very different. We have rolled out the first stage of our complete overhaul of Marriott.com.
The site is already a huge success story. Last year, Marriott.com generated more than six billion dollars in gross revenue for Marriott. We've done some research and found that Marriott.com ranks as the seventh largest retail site on the Internet.
So, the obvious question is why mess with success? We have a corporate philosophy which says that "success is never final" and we can always do better.
Today, eight percent of visits to Marriott.com result in bookings. We know we can raise that number and even a slight increase is worth many dollars.
Making travel plans on the Internet is extremely popular among customers and hotel guests are more sophisticated and demanding than ever when it comes to using the Internet. We must meet their expectations.
Based on a lot of customer research we did, our goals for the new site are to make it more visually compelling and make it simpler to search or navigate to find what you need, faster. We put the search box front and center. For our loyal Marriott Rewards customers, you will have access to your account information from every page of the site now.
The evolution of Marriott.com, which we're calling Marriott.com 2.0 begins with the homepage. The new look can be found on all of our international sites, as well - United Kingdom, Germany, China, Latin America, Japan, Korea, France and Australia. In the future, we'll rollout even more enhancements, including more information about our brands, hotels, room rates and packages.
I hope you'll visit Marriott.com and take some time to explore what's new and let me know what you think.
I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.