NEW YORK – A Marriott executive at the Mcommerce Summit: State of Mobile Commerce 2014 last week 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 during the “The Mobility Revolution Leading the Way for Brilliant Travel” presenration, who differ from traditional travelers characterized by their use of mobile devices which is three times greater than any other segment. Marriott questioned how it can make itself pertinent, and pivot the experiences in its hotels to be relevant to the experiences savvy travelers are used to.
“When we launched these capabilities, we had 329 hotels equipped for the service. In a single day, 240,000 mobile check-ins were initiated, the largest single brand launch of this type of service,” said Vikas Chawla, vice president of mobile and digital guest experience, Marriott Hotels, Bethesda, MD.
Start with technology, end with execution Marriott rewards members who access the app can simply walk up to a mobile check-in desk and pick up a pre-programmed key card to avoid the often time consuming process.
Mr. Chawla reported that one in four Marriott hotel guests’ uses mobile services during their stay, and four out of five of these users said they have a stronger impression of Marriott after using mobile versus competitor check-in arrangements.
With travel becoming easier, evolution is occurring in the way consumers perceive travel.
As an abundance of free information floats online, the group of consumers aged 18 to 40 – dubbed NextGens — have grown accustomed to surfing travel review sites, photos, blogs, videos and communities.
This empowers them more than ever to decide what they want at the time of consumption or travel.
Marriott's mobile services
Mobile hoteliers 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, per Mr. Chawla.
Specifically, social media is key for NextGens since they enjoy to be in contact with others, sharing experiences and hobbies that reflect how they want to be viewed by peers.
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.
NextGens 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.
“There are all these companies coming into this space that we traditionally use to hold and control,” Mr. Chawla said.
“When guests need to find out something or what’s going on around the hotel they used to call concierge," he said. "Now, it’s let me pull out my phone and bring up one of these apps I use at home, at work, and when I’m always traveling, and we start there.”
Final Take Vikas Chawla, vice president of mobile and digital guest experience at Marriott Hotels, Bethesda, MD
Michelle Saettler is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach her at email@example.com.