When Marriott International were preparing to launch the latest member of their Autograph Collection of boutique hotels in Sanya, China they knew they would need help.
This launch was important because of the unique nature of the hotel, and needed attention and expertise to pull off correctly.
Top quality Hotels are what Marriot does best, and usually they have their own expert marketing team to help them launch and advertise. But in this case, they needed the help from a company with a specialised, local knowledge.
The problem they were facing was that this hotel was different, and they needed a website that not only reflected that boutique charm, but also communicated and appealed to an ever-more-discerning Chinese audience.
To top it off, they were on a very tight launch schedule, had a big advertising budget ready to go as soon as they launched, and needed a guarantee their website would perform perfectly, without any prior testing or ‘ease in’ period, when the high volume of traffic hit on launch day.
Marriott International is a worldwide and well-respected hotel operator who have been in the hospitality business since founder, John Willard Marriott, opened a root beer stand in Washington DC 90 years ago. This enterprise flourished and led to restaurants and hotels, the first Marriott hotel opening in 1957.
Marriott went from strength to strength and expanded throughout the US and eventually all over the world. They have bought out a number of other hotel groups such as Ritz Carlton as their brand presence has grown significantly in the last half century.
Today there are over 5,700 Marriott properties in 110 different countries offering a total of 1.2 million bedrooms available for guests.
The Autograph Collection hotel in Sanya is one of their most unique and luxury accommodations they offer, as they expand further into the lucrative Chinese market.
When a high end brand such as Marriott approaches such a huge ‘make it or break it’ foreign market such as that in China, the operation has to be done correctly.
The first step was to create a high performance website, that both reflected the uniqueness of the hotel and managed to communicate that value to the Chinese market.
We created a Chinese language website with high end Western design that the people of China would like the look of. It’s important that they both understood and related to the website, culturally and were impressed enough by it to make bookings to come and stay at the hotel.
Choosing a local Chinese agency would not have been enough. They didn’t want a standard hotel website that blended in with all the others. This hotel was to be a stand-alone, one of a kind, boutique hotel and as such the website would need to reflect that.
To mirror the high end nature of the hotel itself, we built in some high end features to the website.
The most stand out of which is the inclusion of 360 degree images of the hotel and rooms. The unique design of the rooms are a huge selling point for the hotel and they wanted to show them off.
To achieve this, we built in an interactive 360 viewing feature, allowing potential guest to pan left, right, up and down to inspect and admire the room from all angles before they book.
We also fully integrated their booking system onto the website. Rather than bouncing to a 3rd party site, guests can book right there on the website, allowing Marriott to make promotions and communicate with their guests directly.
Marriott International had a major advertising campaign ready to go and we needed to make sure everything was up and running perfectly on launch day – we didn’t want the servers to crash due to the expected high volume of traffic to the site.
We used powerful hosting solutions and optimised the website for speed to ensure the website performed when it was most important.
When working in China, the solutions that would normally work in the West aren’t as effective as local technologies and platforms.
Aliyun is a cloud-based hosting service in mainland China and is the best way to ensure a fast-working and reliable site in the country. We used our local market knowledge to host the website with Aliyun, and increased performance using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
The anticipated traffic on launch day would be high volume, due to the large advertising budget. The hosting solution we set up ensured the website would perform on launch day, no matter how much traffic was sent or where users were logging in from.
To keep Marriott on top of the game year round, our website maintenance service means that any future updates to the site will be taken care of. If there are changes in price or there is new information to be added at any point we’ll take care of that too.
When it came to the big day, the website was launched successfully.
Marriott was able to unleash their advertising and marketing budget, driving traffic and the site converted, generating bookings.
The site performed perfectly, even under sudden high volume of traffic, without prior testing, and no problems have been reported with the functioning of the booking system.
The website continues to attract and entice customers from around China, meaning Marriott is free to drive traffic and potential customers with advertising campaigns, and the site converts and collects bookings year round.
If you have a business with a Chinese audience, or want to take advantage of the expanding Chinese market, get in touch with us today.
We offer services in Web Design, Hosting and Support and WeChat marketing to help you launch, grow and succeed in China.
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