Hotel chain Marriott has unveiled the first stage of its revamped Marriott.com, with a new-look homepage prioritising the search box.
The new home page has gone live this week for users in a number of key markets, including the UK.
In his blog, Marriott International chief executive Bill Marriott said: “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.”
Marriott.com generated $6bn of revenues last year, which makes it the seventh largest online retailer. Shafiq Khan, senior vice president, e-Commerce for Marriott International, said that the site currently gets around 12m visitors a month and that 75% of its guests look at Marriott.com, even if they book through a different channel.
Bill Marriott added that 8% of visits to Marriott.com result in bookings. “We know we can raise that number and even a slight increase is worth many dollars.”
He acknowledged that “new visitors [to the old site] could find it confusing, and often left and booked hotels elsewhere”. One challenge of the redesign was to make the site more intuitive for newcomers while keeping design and functionality which worked well for frequent visitors.
The first phase also features a one-click access to a Marriott Rewards account holders details from anywhere on the site.
Future developments planned for 2010 include more details about “brands, properties, room rates and packages”.