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Marriott personalizes mobile app experience with new redesign

By
February 9, 2017

The update is a response to "mobile concierge" features rolled out by competitors

The update is a response to “mobile concierge” features rolled out by competitors

Marriott Rewards members can access a newly redesigned Marriott Mobile application, which is now offered in five languages and touts personalized digital features including custom travel content and expanded Mobile Key capabilities.

The new Marriott Mobile app is currently available on iOS, with an Android client in the works. The redesign is the product of extensive customer research and member feedback, and constitutes one strand of an ongoing service innovation strategy from Marriott, which will lean heavily on mobile.

“Hotel chains using mobile to, among other things, bypass check-in, order amenities and open their doors is a good way to ensure loyalty within a brand, as these additions are intended to be used within the higher security of a mobile app versus the mobile web,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis. “However, with these amenities being added it makes it tougher for any hotel brand who is lagging behind in technology to catch up to the brands who are locking in loyalty with more and more consumers as additional amenities are added.

“The potential for amenities is far from being reached on mobile for hotel brands since global saturation of mobile phones is well past the half way point, and still climbing. The uses for mobile around the globe are not even close to reaching their potential, in my opinion.”

Redesigned app
The new Marriott Mobile app will dynamically adjust to personalize the user’s experience throughout all stages of their travel. This means that whether members are in trip planning mode, getting ready to travel, in transit, or mid-hotel stay, the app will display content and features based on what services members are most likely to need in that moment.

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The update promises easier access to amenities

For example, Marriott’s Mobile Check-In capability will now be more comprehensive, with the ability to request room upgrades and notifications pertaining to their fulfillment integrated into the feature. Users will also be able to request a late check-out in the app rather than at front desk, which is guaranteed for Gold and Platinum Elite members.

Marriott is also expanding Mobile Key, rolling out to more than 500 hotels globally this year. Members who check-in using the Marriott Mobile app can choose to skip the front desk and go straight to their room, using their smartphone to open the door.

The new app is now also available in Chinese, Spanish, French and German.

Travel sector
According to Google, 74 percent of people have at least one travel app on their device, which Marriott sees as an opportunity to engage with travelers on the platforms where they are most active.

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The app’s fresh user interface

The hotelier has proven that they practice what they preach: Marriott was one of the first adopters of iMessages open developer platform to create branded and customizable content (see story).

And others in the hospitality sector have also been keen towards mobile solutions: Last month, Online hotel booking company Hotels.com has integrated a “mobile butler” into its application experience which offers a number of features courtesy of partnerships with OpenTable, Uber, delivery.com and Groupon (see story).

“With emerging markets having a different view of an app store than the U.S., the hospitality industry would do well to understand global use cases before they go through the expense of creating apps in different languages,” Ms. Troutman said. “The mobile Web is a much friendlier and less expensive use of time and expense to reach a large percentage of these emerging markets.

“Allowing a ‘switch languages’ option within a U.S. market to prominent languages in the next few years is a better place to set these resources.”

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Rakin Azfar is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach him at rakin@napean.com.

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