Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s reputation as a superior, luxury brand is vital to the award-winning international hotel investment and management group. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (MOHG) operates or has under development 41 deluxe and first class hotels in 27 countries worldwide. The company’s mission is to provide 21st century luxury with oriental charm in each of its hotels, resorts and residences.
“The number of bookings we received through the mobile site surpassed our expectations. The investment we made was returned within two months.”
-Christoph Oberli, vice president of eCommerce for MOHG
So when MOHG decided to implement a new web content management (WCM) system in 2007, maintaining a high level of brand consistency was of paramount importance. Working with Siteworx – one of the largest independent Web design and application development firms – MOHG chose SDL’s Web Content Management (WCM) solution, SDL Tridion.
The SDL Tridion solution simplified MOHG’s global marketing efforts by localizing many aspects of the site and delivering a centrally managed system specifically designed to deliver content across multiple channels in multiple languages. With SDL Tridion, MOHG was able to deliver a consistent brand “look and feel” – to convey its luxury and commitment to excellence – while also providing its individual properties with easy-to-use tools to customize content locally, accommodating language requirements, regional customs and sales promotions.
Two years after the implementation, Christoph Oberli, vice president of eCommerce for MOHG, began to observe a fundamental shift in the way that guests were engaging with them. In particular, a growing percentage of MOHG’s Web traffic was coming from mobile devices. Oberli further noted that – despite the economic downturn – global sales of mobile devices and smart phones were skyrocketing.
An Effortless Mobile Browsing Experience
To address the increasing usage of mobile for customer engagement, MOHG decided to extend their usage of SDL Tridion to deliver a user-friendly, interactive mobile website.
But when the mobile channel is of strategic importance to your organization, it cannot be viewed as merely another customer touch point. MOHG knew that it needed to be integrated into all of its systems in a uniform fashion, ensuring that their guests’ branded experiences would be the same regardless of the access device they were using.
“We saw an opportunity to cost-effectively deliver an effortless mobile browsing experience, while at the same time ensuring the level of elegance and specialized service that Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s guests have come to expect,” explained Oberli.
The new MOHG mobile site is designed and optimized for a wide variety of smart phones. The team used the SDL Tridion platform to select a subset of content and make it relevant to mobile device users. This allowed the team to create a customized experience for its mobile guests, while leveraging existing content.
The results? The performance is fast, and the controls intuitive and extremely user-friendly. Rich in graphics, the site gives guests an effortless browsing experience and ensures the level of polish and specialized service that MOHG represents.
Better yet, in just six short weeks, MOHG received enough bookings from its mobile site to cover all expenses of designing and building the site – significantly less than the three months originally projected. Today almost eight percent of its total Web traffic comes from mobile – double the amount from 2009.
Supporting Customers Anytime and Anywhere
As the mobile market continues to grow, so does its significance for businesses. Gartner Group predicts(August 2010) that mobile phones will surpass PCs as the most common Web access device by 2013. A number of emerging trends in the mobile market are driving this growth, including geo-targeting and location-based marketing. Using these types of capabilities, for example, MOHG guests can find the nearest hotel without even manually inputting their location.
Smart and forward-looking companies like MOHG are leveraging this new breed of marketing technology to engage the mobile channel and support their customers – anytime and anywhere.
The SDL Tridion platform is ideally suited for mobile, easily facilitating the creating of a content model to support the channel. Components – such as content, digital assets or applications – can be easily repurposed within channel-specific templates, drastically decreasing the complexity of managing the content and release process.
MOHG can enter new content once and easily re-use it on the feature-rich mobile site, significantly reducing operational costs and accelerating content changes. For MOHG, localization was also critical to its mobile website success. SDL’s ability to create language variants easily for the mobile platform was invaluable.
A Consistent, Branded Experience Across any Channel
Companies need to consider how content variants impact the limited page real estate that makes up a mobile device. For example, viewing a 500-word product or service description on a Blackberry or iPhone browser is not a pleasant experience. But all that changes when you can easily create customer-experience variants delivered specifically for devices with different form factors.
SDL Tridion has been architected to be browser-agnostic, providing flexibility well beyond Internet Explorer. This is important, as the mobile channel does not necessarily stop with a mobile site. If developers are building iPhone or iPad apps, they must work on Apple’s OSX.
Case in point. MOHG has a new iPhone application that provides real-time reservations, detailed hotel information, destination guides and more. This is a perfect illustration of how companies may choose to package content as an application.
“We see the increased use of mobile as the way the world will continue to function in the foreseeable future,” said Oberli. “Our new mobile website has proven successful on several levels. We’ve extended our reach and offered our guests yet another convenient, easy-to-use method to interact with us. Secondly, we have already received compliments from our guests about how smoothly the mobile site works and how quickly it performs. Thirdly, the number of bookings we received through the mobile site surpassed our expectations. The investment we made was returned within two months.”
The ultimate goal is to have customers enjoy the same consistent, branded experience and the same level of customer service across any channel – be that desktop, laptop or mobile.
MOHG’s SDL Tridion mobile solution accelerated its corporate goals, deepened brand engagement and served customers better. And – in the end – isn’t that the ultimate challenge for every marketing executive?
Robert Carroll (firstname.lastname@example.org) is CMO of SDL’s Web Content Management Solutions Division in North America. SDL delivers highly targeted, global customer engagements based on language, location, and profiling and personalization. For more information, go to http://www.sdl.com.
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