Marriott Hotels Encourage Customers to 'Travel Brilliantly' with Mobile-First Rewards Campaign

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Industry: 
Hospitality/Travel
Key Solution Areas: 
Mobile-first email strategy, scalable and responsive email design
Results: 
Marriott App achieving the #1 position in iTunes App Store’s Travel category, and #47 overall ranking in the iTunes App Store | 27,000+ Marriott Mobile app downloads in a single day | Improved email readability and customer engagement on mobile devices

Marriott and Mobile

With 500 hotels and resorts in almost 60 countries worldwide, Marriott Hotels is among the leading brands in hospitality, transforming the industry with innovative concepts and enabling next generation travelers to ‘travel brilliantly’.

In order to keep up with the breakneck speed of smartphone adoption, Marriott International launched a mobile app in 2011. The free app, available for iPhone and Android devices, makes booking a stay at a Marriott brand hotel and resort easier than ever. In addition to making reservations with the app, travelers can use it to browse helpful city guides and access their account with Marriott Rewards, a loyalty program that allows them to earn and redeem points at 14 of Marriott International’s lodging brands.

Mobile has become Marriott’s fastest-growing consumer touch point and the hotel chain’s mobile revenue has grown upwards of 80 percent in one year. Marriott’s always-connected guests have downloaded the Marriott Mobile app 2.3 million times and in June 2013, their flagship brand Marriott Hotels began testing its Mobile Check-In functionality at 31 properties. Due to its rapid adoption over three months—a quarter of all Marriott Rewards members with reservations used the feature—Mobile Check-In was rolled out across the remaining 298 Marriott Hotels in the United States and Canada in September.

The Challenge

In order to have a bold and impactful launch of the innovative Mobile Check-In functionality, exclusive to Marriott Hotels in North America, the brand relied on an email campaign as the primary push marketing tactic to boost app downloads, increase awareness, and promote use of Mobile Check-In. Marriott turned to Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s creative team before sending eight million dedicated emails to mobile and tech-savvy Marriott Rewards members in the U.S. and Canada. 

Mobile has transformed how our members, guests and potential guests experience our brand, so the Mobile Check-In was a major initiative for us. We wanted to ensure that we went with an email partner that had a solid background in planning campaigns with mobile audiences in mind. Yes Lifecycle Marketing was the way to go.”

Clark Cummings, Senior Manager, Email Marketing – Marriott Rewards 

Solution

Yes Lifecycle Marketing’s team thought mobile-first when it came to planning strategy and creative for the Mobile Check-in email campaign. They implemented responsive design techniques and as a result, the promotional campaign consisted of two designs coded in a single framework —one for desktop, and one for mobile. This dual function of the email allowed guests to read it on a larger desktop computer monitor or just as easily on a mobile device, with no need to pinch or zoom. Yes Lifecycle Marketing also streamlined the Marriott Rewards email using scalable design practices, namely stackable content sections (the message had two), while enlarging text to accommodate for small mobile screens.

Tailoring copy was also part of Yes Lifecycle Marketing's mobile-first strategy. Only the most pertinent messaging was included and it was clearly focused on the key benefits of the Mobile Check-In offering. In addition, the “GET THE APP” buttons were “bulletproof” so they could be read and clicked even with images turned off, thus catering to the different default settings of various operating systems. Yes Lifecycle Marketing leveraged the functionality of mobile devices so that when users clicked these calls-to-action, they could download the Marriott Mobile app via their respective devices’ app store. If people clicked the other CTA, “Visit TravelBrilliantly.com”, their mobile browser would take them to Marriott Hotels’ travel site.

Lastly, Yes Lifecycle Marketing incorporated a smartphone animation of the Mobile Check-In interface on the app that showcased Marriott’s enticing new capability. This animation worked well on both iOS and Android devices, appealing to users with various operating systems.

Success Story

Just a few days after the official Mobile Check-In launch, Marriott had more than 27,000 downloads in one day, and the ranking of Marriott Mobile in the iTunes app store increased to #1 in Travel (previously #25) and #47 Overall (previously #938). Since more than half of the deployed emails were opened on a mobile device, the “bulletproof” calls-to-action served Marriott well - 51% of all clicks were on the iTunes app download button while 20% were on the Android app download button. 

Marriott’s Mobile Check-In campaign was a huge success and the new offering is the broadest mobile service of its kind in the highly-competitive North American hospitality industry. Yes Lifecycle Marketing tailored Marriott’s promotion to consumers’ evolving device preference by employing mobile-first email strategies and design best practices. After Yes Lifecycle Marketing created the easy-to-read email, Marriott Rewards subscribers could quickly find the ‘download app’ button and busy guests could simplify their hotel check-in process. 

Creative Samples:

Desktop version (left) Mobile version (right)

Positive results from Yes Lifecycle Marketing's campaign for Marriott Rewards can be a lesson learned for all marketers: 

The customer always comes first and today, when half of Americans own a smartphone, that means thinking mobile-first. Marketing campaigns have to optimize the user experience by catering to what customers want. The email campaign Yes Lifecycle Marketing designed was simple, to-the-point, and easy-to-read. It was instrumental to the success of our Mobile Check-In rollout.”

Clark Cummings, Senior Manager, Email Marketing Marriott Rewards