etravel etourism   e-tourism newsletter
No 2000/7 - Wednesday, November 15, 2000


emarket news
e-market strategies
enewsletter sign up free


  One to one relationship and permission marketing: eCRM according to Marriott  

Customizing visitors is the only way to make a web site profitable. Sites have long ago stopped spending millions of dollars in advertising in order to generate traffic… since it was all in vain.

Customers' disloyalty has become a chronic disease on the Internet: competition sites are stronger every day, user-friendliness is mediocre and above all, very few customization elements are offered that would prompt a visitor to come back on a site.

But it must be said that the eCRM is not a reality for the web sites just yet, it is more of a fictional element.

The first service provided by an eCRM on an eTourism site concerns the emailing.

As of today, it is one the most powerful services in the eMarketing business that manages to customize visitors and yet few are the sites that use it correctly.

Most of the sites are now aware of the fact that it can only customize visitors through newsletters that have real added value but they still tend to ignore the permission marketing factor.

It goes without saying that when a customer gives you his e-mail address, he agrees to receive your newsletter. But in fact he only wants to receive information that are of interest to him…on a personal level.

It would be wrong to believe that the general type of newsletter is able to satisfy all the visitors when you take into account the increasing number of e-mails they receive every day.

That's why the sites thought about offering their consumers two different types of newsletters, one offering only discounts and another one dedicated to the general information.

But consumers now want to receive specific information and only at certain periods of time.

Marriott hotels well understood that factor, that's the reason why they just launched new personalization features on their web site in order to customize their customers and visitors.

Even though e-commerce accounts for only 3 percent of Marriott International's annual sales, the company still expects its online reservations to triple from $150 million in 1999 to $400 million at the end of 2000.

Let's remember that the Marriott site receives more than 3 million visits monthly and that three-quarters of Marriott's total Internet bookings are generated through



On Oct. 3, 2000, Marriott launched a new web site features called "Thinking of you", which emphasizes the customer relationship.

The site now enables its customers to personalize their profile online and this will allow them to make quicker reservations but also to receive the type of information they really need.
Please note to that respect that, unlike many other sites, Marriott does not force the customers that might be interested by such service to surrender credit-card information to use it. It is just an optional piece of information.


The fact that Marriott also promises its customers that it will not give the information they just provided to anyone proves how mature the company is.

There is another interesting element in Marriott's approach, which is that these personalized profiles are divided into 4 distinct categories:

  • The "Leisure" travelers.
  • The "Business" travelers.
  • The Travel agents.
  • The Event planners.

For each of these categories, specific services that are adapted to the communicated profiles are offered.

If we take for instance the case of event planners, we'll notice that the site offers a specific search engine or even online space and budget calculators.

As far as travel agents are concerned, a "Premier Agent Hotel Sales Training program" service is set up.

A registered business traveler visiting a will receive a customized home page with links to business-specific content but also all the information he needs about the multimedia possibilities (Internet connection…) that are provided in the hotel rooms.



In order for you to better understand what's on offer, here is a list of what includes the visitor's customized profile:

  • Accessibility (if the customer is handicapped).

  • Bed type (Double or King Size).

  • Smoking or Non Smoking.

  • The Marriott brands the customer most frequently visit.

  • The three cities the customer most commonly goes to when in Business.

  • The three cities he most commonly goes to when on Holidays.

  • The interests the customer likes to pursue when traveling are:

      • Golf.
      • Tennis.
      • Skiing.
      • Beach.
      • Sports.
      • Sportive events.
      • Touristy events.
      • Museums/ Galleries.
      • Theater.
      • Nice meals.
      • Friends and family.
      • Children's activities.

The other customization programs the customer already belongs to (other hotels but also airline sites).


As far as the business trips are concerned, the customer is invited to rank in order of importance from 1 to 7 (one being the most important) the following elements:

      • Hotel location.
      • Price.
      • Room service.
      • Amenities.
      • Quality of service.
      • Earn Marriott Rewards Points.
      • Consistency.

After the visitor has given all these elements, the site is then able to provide him with three new services:

  • A personalized content: mainly news that correspond to the customer's profile and this straight from the home page.

  • Offers and news by e-mail, classified according to the information provided by the customer.

  • The possibility for the customer to make express online reservations according to the registered criteria. The customers who have agreed to give their credit card number in their profile will be served first.

All these information will be encrypted and protected in a secure SSL environment and for some of them, as for the banking elements of the credit card, only the four last numbers will appear when accessing to his profile.


If the visitor wishes to modify the information he has updated or if he even wants to suppress it, he can easily do so since profiles can be accessed online at any time. Marriott also put a 800 phone number at his registered visitors' disposal and that number is exclusively dedicated to this new service (especially for those who want to make a reservation without supplying their credit-card information online).

Since the Oct 3, 2000 launch of this new web site services, Marriott indicates that its database (Marriott Rewards members and personal profiles) has grown by 10 percent.

I'm convinced that it is by using this type of tools that Customer Centric sites will manage to customize its visitors and customers.

Customers are often willing to pay the price, and even a bit more, if the site allows him to save time, offers him a secure environment, accompanies him throughout the planning of his trip, in short gives him a bit more than just: here is your room, it costs $150 the night, you can book it online and… see you next time.

Marriott has fully entered the customization battle and it will be interesting to see how its competitors will react in the weeks and months to come.

Source : Marriott
Back to titles

| Top | Home | eCommerce | eMetrics | eFocus | eIndices | Archives | Links |
| © Copyright | Privacy Pledge | Contact | Reports | eShopability Expertise |

The Last eTourisme Trends and Figures: Sign Up Free

eTourism Newsletter Web Site Editor: Luc Carton