Mandarin Oriental details mobile marketing prowess
By Rachel Lamb
Mandarin Oriental iPhone app
NEW YORK – The key to mobile is to communicate directly with consumers through mobile sites, applications and search engine optimization, according to a Mandarin Oriental executive at the Luxury Interactive conference.
Mandarin Oriental laid out its entire digital strategy from the past few years to explain how varying the types of mobile marketing enables the chain to engage with consumers. The brand exercised many mobile touch points to communicate while still maintaining a consistent theme throughout its mobile offerings.
“Our first priority was asking what the customer was looking for,” said Christoph Oberli, New York-based vice president of ecommerce at Mandarin Oriental. “The problem is that the mobile device is always changing.
“Something new is always coming, but the mobile strategy needs to be consistent across all platforms and outlets,” he said. “It always has to be benefitting the brand.”
Mandarin Oriental has seen much success from its mobile site, launched in January 2010. The mobile site is more of a transaction tool than an engagement mechanism, per Mr. Oberli.
Reservations page from the mobile site.
Mandarin Oriental’s site is compatible with 95 percent of smartphones and sees 12 times more ROI.
One feature of the mobile site is geotargeting, which allows consumers to find the nearest Mandarin Oriental location from their location.
The branded mobile site also includes photo galleries, reservation capabilities and tempting offers.
Mandarin Oriental sees 5 to 10 percent traffic coming through the site (see story).
The hotel sees 24 percent revenue through iPhone views, 73 percent revenue through iPad views, 2 percent revenue via BlackBerry views and 1 percent revenue through Android views.
An additional 1 percent revenue comes from other smartphone views.
On the other hand, the brand’s mobile app, which launched in October 2010, saw 10,000 downloads by the end of June.
Although the app has real-time reservation capabilities, Mandarin Oriental considers this an engagement tool rather than transactional.
Consumers can fully immerse themselves in the app and look at photos, send digital postcards from the locations where they are staying and use it while staying at a location to look up nearby restaurants, bars and attractions.
Post card from inside the app
Both the mobile site and app are consistent with Mandarin Oriental marketing, content and aesthetics such as the waterfall theme.
This is a key part of mobile marketing, per Mr. Oberli.
Mandarin Oriental is increasingly marketing these mobile offers via its Web site at http://www.mandarinoriental.com and social media pages.
Although the Web site displays most of the functionality and content as the mobile offerings, there are some mobile exclusives available such as the postcard feature.
Mandarin Oriental is promoting its site through mobile search engine optimization marketing which includes the site and maps of locations.
There are also QR codes in tents on desks in Mandarin Oriental rooms that lead to the brand’s app.
Mandarin Oriental is soon planning on launching an iPad app with booking capability and geographic notifications.
The brand also revealed its plans for a comprehensive relaunch with a brand-new look of its digital media in 2012.
“The most important thing is to not lose sight of customers, technology and investment,” Mr. Oberli said. “Mobile is a different platform than when we first started.
“As we start to see how mobile is growing, it will all be evolving,” he said. “Eventually, everything that is on your desktop will be on mobile.”
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