Renovating Our Digital Front Door, Marriott.com

November 14, 2009

Mcom_HP_102909 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.

Renovating Our Digital Front Door


The comments to this entry are closed.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

As a Platinum member I love Marriott hotels. However, the new website is way too slow. On superfast internet connections (with the latest computer hardware), I still have to wait way to long for the page to load. You can design it to look awesome; but if it takes more than 2 seconds to load, you've lost me. Speed is money! Without it your digital front door is closed.

Mr. Marriott, love the new site.. I need to know who to contact about sponsorship.I represent a PGA Tour player and would love some information about what the Marriott might have to over him.. Love the Marriott

Why is it that half the time the website front page will not load?? It is very frustrating, and a complete waste of time.

Hello Mr. Marriott. John McAuliffe here, VFM Leonardo’s CMO. We presented a webinar June 24th on the topic of Using Video to Engage and Interact with Online Travel Shoppers.

As I was preparing my portion of the content on how the internet has revolutionized travel shopping, I came across this blog post on the digital front door.

No one could have said it better than you. Today’s hoteliers need to understand and take advantage of the fact that the hotel experience often begins online.

I used your blog post in one of my introductory slides as a jumping off point to the message that hotels actually have thousands of digital front doors. Certainly brand-loyal customers (as you are talking about) often begin their shopping journeys on the brand’s website, but I would suggest and research validates that brand agnostic (to use a term from Forrester Research) consumers begin their hotel searches on search engines, destination sites, meta search engines, OTAs, video sites and thousands of specialty sites in the long tail.

I believe one major challenge for hoteliers today is ensuring that the experience consumers get as they enter any one of the hotel’s thousands of digital front doors is always a positive and engaging one.

So, I would encourage you to ensure that your hotels present themselves in the same engaging manner on all the other travel websites both transactional like OTAs and non transactional like review sites and referral sites with engaging visual and textual content that captures the story of why a travel shopper would want to stay at that Marriott hotel.

Mr. Marriott, I love the new look of your web site and the technological advances your company is making. I still think there are lots more hospitality companies can do to take adventage of the new technology that my company is producing for the industry which maximize guest service, increase revenue,reduce payroll and increase productivity. If you can ask someone from you revenue management/IT to contact us. I can be reached at the email address provided.

Like suggested earlier in this comment string, Marriott needs an iPhone app. Reservations would become much easier for us.

As a platinum marriott travler i too have an issue with the new site. very slow to load and navigate. the map function takes forever to load in too. easier to book marriott on our corporate travel site but exposes me to less expensive hotel chains approved by my company. this process already cost marriott about ten of my travel nights this year to cheaper hotels in our system. Marriott need to seriously look into this.

Is it me or is this site slow as hell. This is frustrating. It's slow at home on DSL and is slow at work. This is ridiculous. I love Marriott but I will just use the toll free phone number.

Dear Mr. Marriott,
As a long-time Marriott Elite member who has stayed at Marriott properties and brands all over the world, I would like to compliment you and the Marriott TEAM on a Job Well Done on a very consistent daily basis. From the quality of the newly remodeled website, to the individual Interior decor at the most remote Courtyard you could find, the quality and excellent Customer/Guest Service is almost always top notch, and if for some reason a property is "off its game" the recovery is almost immediate once management is notified of a discrepancy.

I would like to make one suggestion, if I may be so bold! I see in more and more properties over the last few years are all making an attempt at having an on site Market or Pantry. This is a great offer for those of us that get in late or leave very early, or just want the convenience of being able to walk to the "pantry" for a midnight or anytime snack, just like at home! While I am 100% behind this direction, it is obvious that there has not been much research or focus on how best to execute this offer for us the frequent traveler!

I have spent my entire career in Convenience Retailing and it is my suggestion that you engage someone that understands convenience shopping, the unique supply chain needed, and the equipment needed for a compelling offer of snacks, replacement meals, and personal needs.

I would love to offer my services to assist Marriott in getting this detail better focused to better serve your guests and to make this space profitable.
I hope someone will contact me as this is exactly what we do at my Company, and this is what communication with your customers is to provide!
Thanks & I hope to hear from someone at Marriott soon!

I'm late to the game but the new site may drive me to call in for reservations or just abandon the brand. It is s--l--o--w. What took me 5 minutes now takes me 15. Very disappointing.

Mr. Marriott, I am a long time member and I agree with most of the comments. I don't find the site very user friendly - although I'm pretty tech savvy - my husband isn't. It doesn't appear that the "customer" (future or current) was considered/tested when the site was redesigned. My motto is "LESS is MORE" - I personally don't like having to SEARCH and FIND informatin - the previous version was much easier to navigate. Please accept this as constructive criticism. I'd be more than happy to test a revision and am a loyal member. Very respectfully, Mrs. M. Goldy

New website stinks. Please give option to use old one.


GET YOUR WEBSITE FIXED---It would be beneficial to have a place on your homepage to report ERRORS to your HQ Marriott Webmaster. For two days now no one, including me can get into see their accounts to view 1) their trip planner 2) to make a reservation without having to call, and to do other things…

YOUR RESERVATIONS PEOPLE SAY THEY ARE AWARE OF THE PROBLEMS, BUT WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING TO FIX THE ISSUE DOES IT TAKE ALL DAYT?????

YOUR SITE SAYS: An unexpected error has occurred
Please try again. If the problem persists, you may call 1-888-236-2427 from within the USA or Canada. If you are calling from a location outside of this area, please consult our worldwide reservation directory for the appropriate number


Robert K. Knauer
CEO
The Acquisition Institute Inc.
www.AcquisitionInstitute.com
352-450-0304
703-919-4617

Like the look but wish that while on the site and it times out, no problem understand the when I need to sign back in it would go back to where I was not back to main page.

I drive extra miles to stay at Marriott and have for years. This new website is the one disappointment I have experienced. Slow to load, erratic behavior and to worried about flash over substance. Hopefully someone will make a case that it has cost you business and we will soon see a change.

The new site looks great but the navigation is slow. I have always had issues with it from several different computers. For most folks quick navigation is a lot more important than cool looks. It takes me 20 minutes to do what used to take 5 minutes in the past. Please do something about it.

Mr.Marriott:

As a platinum member, I stay at Marriott frequently and have used the website to make my reservations. I'm sorry to say but the new website is horrible. It's difficult to use, does not work 1/2 the time, and in general, is making my life miserable in trying to do reservations.

I'm not wedded to the old one (it had it's kinks as well), but it worked. This one fails me frequently and can take several minutes to load. Minutes that I don't have to wait for the website, so know I'm calling more often than in the past.

Is there a way for me to not have to deal with this poor design and poor performance?

Horrible -- extremely unfriendly -- slow to load, full of annoying popups. It now takes 4 times as long to make a reservation. Are you trying to win IT awards or make a customer happy. I am so annoyed about the delays and lack of ease in use with this new goggledly-gook website. You have failed if you care about making a frequent customer happy. The new site is awful.

Hello Bill
Do you ever respond to customer comments here? So many engaged customers... which is fantastic. But I don't see you engaging in return with them and continuing the conversations. That's a shame!
Best wishes
Jeremy Head

Was hoping speed of the site would improve by now (especially calendar and map opening), but seems to be getting slower all the time.

What's being done to fix?

Thx, Mike

I love the lay out of your new website. However, it is much slower than the old website was, and frustrating to work with. Once you get to the screens you need, it is very easy to work with. However, the frustration I have maneuvering with the slow speed keeps me from exploring it any further than I need to make reservations

Hi Bill,
I like the new website and its intelligent design and ease of use. I also like the integration of videos, photos, and some humor. Its easier to remember features and new elegant styles. I particularly liked the Courtyard. It makes me feel younger and happier! Great job!

Fantastic new site, and a pleasure to view through.
Hotels great and staff the same to boot.

I do not like the new website. The old site was much better, functional and straight to the point. This design feels odd -- don't seem to fit Marriott. Too flashy. And on top of that it seems the digital front door looks unfinished -- the typography is oddly placed and in all lowercase?? But nothing else is.
Please change it back.

Repeat gold member. Site is a step backward. I understand the need to freshen up the look - especially given the gargantuan amount of physical updating you are doing across all of your properties. But usability definitely took a back seat to design here, and the net impact on the brand is negative. Seems like more of a focus on looking good, then being good. I think an update of the update is needed.