With luxury hotels, resorts and residences around the world, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (MOHG) can’t afford to have any reservations about its digital platform. Siteworx first redeployed the existing website on an enterprise-class web content management (WCM) system. After the re-launch and deployment of 22 sites in six languages, Siteworx experts devised a mobile strategy whereby MOHG could reinforce its brand presence and secure a leadership role in the mobile space. The deliverable: an exemplary website and mobile strategy that fulfilled MOHG’s mission to “delight” customers.
The results: MOHG’s mobile website achieved break-even and measurable ROI in just 30 days. The company’s web and mobile strategy continue to deliver a sustainable advantage to trump the competition.
Hong Kong-based Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group worked with Siteworx to restructure and re-launch its website, enabling it to expand to new locations rapidly, while protecting the integrity of its global brand. Siteworx refined the comprehensive performance requirements detailed by Mandarin’s eCommerce team and took the lead in implementation of SDL Tridion web content management (WCM). The new platform allowed Mandarin Oriental to deliver a consistent brand “look and feel,” while providing each of its 40-plus hotel properties with tools to tailor content to accommodate local languages, customs and sales promotions.
“Our reputation as a superior, luxury brand is vital to us at Mandarin Oriental and like our properties, our global website must support our mission to ‘delight’ our customers,” said Christoph Oberli, Vice President of eCommerce & Interactive for the Group.
Mandarin also looked to reinforce its brand position and assume a leadership role in the mobile space. Following the successful re-launch, and subsequent deployment of 22 sites in six languages—Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, French, Spanish, and German—the Group engaged Siteworx to initiate its mobile strategy.
A new mobile site, initially targeting Apple’s iPhone, would leapfrog the competition and significantly differentiate the Group. Soon after the website launch, the project team recognized that support for other devices would be critical to success. However, the rapid introduction of new platforms and devices in the mobile space made predicting and building to the “must have” technology of the moment cost-prohibitive, if not technically challenging. Furthermore, as support for more devices increases, so does the cost, due to the custom code required for each device.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group recognized that “out of the box” solutions in use by other hotel brands were insufficient to the challenge. A customized solution would be required to achieve a level of elegance and specialized service on par with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s storied brand. To keep a tight rein on costs and schedule, the Siteworx team worked closely with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to distinguish the must-have devices and operating systems.
To meet the Group’s needs, Siteworx devised a content management approach, leveraging the SDL Tridion WCM, in which content is ultimately inherited from the main site and filtered down to the mobile site. This system enabled Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s content owners to make changes within the Tridion WCM rather than writing entirely new content for the mobile experience.
From a visual design perspective, Siteworx designers sought to create a clean, elegant design consistent with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group brand. The user experience design focused on creating a mobile browser experience that could approximate an experience of a native application.
To meet the aggressive timeline and reduce development costs, Siteworx engaged a testing service that provided virtual access to all phones on both the AT&T and Verizon networks. The test plan also accounted for backward compatibility—as far back as two years—for supported devices.
Siteworx developed a feature-rich mobile site, including:
- Hidden address bar offers a design with a “native app” experience
- Find the nearest Mandarin hotel
- Photo galleries swipe to next picture
- 3rd party booking engine integration
- Phone numbers prompt phone-dialling functionality
- Email addresses prompt email functionality
- View map—Google maps integration
- Read Me Later sends an email with the URL for the desktop version of the page
Creating Brand Appropriate Mobile ExperiencesThe Mandarin Oriental mobile website received significant accolades and recognition by trade media and independent analysts. They recognized both the overall design aesthetic as well as the site’s effectiveness at applying a balance of features that were carefully attuned to the hotel group’s luxury audiences: from the “read me later” feature where mobile visitors can easily email a link for desktop viewing, to integration with their 3rd party booking engine that allows their clientele to book a hotel room direct from a phone.
A Mobile Site before its Time
While the mobile website was successful from a performance standpoint—generating revenue almost immediately—it’s important to note that Siteworx helped Mandarin Oriental deploy a forward-looking mobile strategy that was unique. At the time, many hotels were experimenting with off-the-shelf- mobile platforms that operate as a separate deployment from the web. Siteworx recognized the inefficiencies inherent in this dis-aggregated approach, and, well ahead of the industry, recommended extending the capabilities of the WCM to support the mobile site. Mandarin Oriental embraced the approach, and the site proved to be a success.
Maximizing Impact While Managing CostsMandarin Oriental’s WCM platform and its managed application services arrangement with Siteworx have allowed the group to save significant time and money. By reducing the amount of headcount and overhead dedicated to design and development maintenance of the site, ultimately transferring those tasks to Siteworx, Mandarin Oriental was able to centralize content publishing to web and mobile, support a global Web presence that offers a differentiated experience for their luxury guests, while maintaining a tight reign on costs.