When customers visit Hyatt Hotels Corp. online, about one-third of them do so via mobile devices. ”And that's increasing,” says Ellen Lee, vice president of e-commerce. So last year, the Loop company concluded that its products needed a refresh. ”The share of digital revenue that's coming from mobile is up triple digits year-over-year and continuing to grow,” Ms. Lee says.
The priority: updating Hyatt's app, which the company introduced in 2011. For the revamp, launched in June, the company worked with Usablenet Inc., a New York-based development firm, to build out the interface. The focus this time was omni-channel design: For Hyatt, this means that, no matter how customers access the brand digitally, the functionality should be consistent. For example, the previous app worked in one language—English—while Hyatt's website featured eight. The updated app now has eight languages, too—crucial, since two out of every three users access Hyatt's site from outside the United States.
Another fundamental change was better search capability. Within the app, customers can save their favorite hotels, which helps road warriors who frequent the same location, and redeem their Hyatt loyalty points when booking a room. Previously, customers could redeem loyalty points only on the website.
In August, Hyatt integrated the app with that of ridesharing service Uber so visitors can schedule transportation easily to hotels. Once they arrive, Hyatt aims to complete the mobile experience. The company is beta-testing no-key entry to rooms—imagine your smartphone unlocking your hotel door—and app-driven room service.
THE TECH GURUS: The final product is a hybrid app, meaning some of the pages are pulled from Hyatt's mobile website, says Carin van Vuuren, chief marketing officer at the New York office of Usablenet. For example, booking pages within the app are linked to the mobile site. (Otherwise, it's impossible to have accurate information about which rooms are available.)
The previous app tracked only basic metrics like home page views and logins, but the new app is grounded in rigorous analytics. That allows Hyatt to obtain vital information about conversions, that is, when customers go from browsing to actually booking a room. The redesign also features a slide-out navigation menu that includes a listing for “special offers,” such as spa deals. “One of the things we know is that business travelers often become leisure travelers,” Ms. van Vuuren says. “It helps answer the question, 'I wonder what else I can do during my stay.' “
LESSONS LEARNED: Testing is crucial. Hyatt threw out screenshots to guests at Chicago properties to see what resonated and what didn't and incorporated the feedback into the design process.
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