Marriott saves time for hotel managers and drives bookings with the Yext Knowledge Engine
Marriott International, Inc. is a leading global lodging company with nearly 6,000 properties in 120 countries. One of the world’s iconic brands, Marriott has been welcoming guests for nearly 90 years. In addition to the hotels bearing the Marriott name, the company owns and operates a portfolio of renowned hotel brands, including The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, W Hotels, Sheraton, and more. To this day, the company is guided by Marriott family leadership, maintaining the company’s core values of dedication to the customer, innovation, integrity, service to the global community, and putting people first.
“Our goal is to be the world’s favorite travel company, not just its favorite hospitality company,” says Maggie Gold, Marriott’s Director of SEO. “We’re taking a broader view of what we can be — and of the many ways we can serve our guests. This means instilling a spirit of service in everything we do, including our digital strategy. If we support our hotels and take care of our associates, then they take care of our customers, and our customers come back.”
Marriott Uses the Yext Knowledge Engine to Provide Flexible Digital Knowledge Management Services to its Hotels
Marriott uses Yext Listings to manage hotel digital knowledge globally, while also empowering individual hotel franchisees to customize their listings with local content themselves. The Yext Knowledge Engine enables brands like Marriott to manage the digital knowledge about their people, places, and products across their websites, mobile apps, internal systems, and the entire Knowledge Network — over 100 maps, apps, search engines, GPS systems, and social networks including Google, Apple, Facebook, Bing, and Yahoo.
With Yext, Marriott can update and maintain information for every hotel, all from a single comprehensive dashboard — and distribute as much control to local managers as necessary.
“While the vast majority of our hotels are franchised, we were looking for a scalable way to keep all of our online local citations in check,” says Florent Abaziou, Search Marketing Manager at Marriott. “There are so many important online local citations across the web, and it’s becoming difficult for individual hotels to manage these themselves. We would rather find a way to support them with this — and give them time back to focus on the other parts of the business. What we found with Yext was really a one-stop solution for our properties to keep everything up to date.”
For a global hotel company, letting the unique attributes of each location shine through is vital to communicating why guests might want to stay there.
“One of Yext’s features that really caught our eye was the ability to quickly create calls to action,” Abaziou says. “Many of our hotels already leveraged this on certain platforms, like Yelp. Yext gives us a way to scale this up and leverage calls to action on all of its supported sites. Another useful feature is Facebook management, which helps us oversee all of our brand pages and hotel Facebook Places pages.”
“The duplicate suppression tool is an especially powerful feature to clean up our digital knowledge across social channels,” Abaziou continues. “A user today may try to check in or tag a location on a photo they took in one of our hotels. Without this tool, they might see a couple of variations of that same location. The duplicate suppression tool allows us to merge any duplicate listings into one. This simplifies the user experience and, as a byproduct, makes it easier for our hotels to see who is mentioning them across social media.”
Marriott first partnered with Yext in 2012. In 2015, the SEO team elevated the relationship to reach more hotels company-wide. “Until 2015, only hotels that were enrolled in the digital services programs were leveraging Yext through us,” says Abaziou. “Others had to go through their own third-party SEO agencies, or establish direct relationships with Yext. So, in 2016, our goal was to provide a streamlined way for all Marriott hotels to enroll with Yext.”
Marriott Tests the Yext Knowledge Engine for its Global Portfolio
In 2016, Marriott tested the Yext Knowledge Engine with a sample of almost 1,400 hotels over a 12-month period, to measure its impact on bookings. The test tracked Listings click-through, rooms booked, and revenue generated.
Over six months, the test found that revenue generated from room nights attributed to Yext Listings represented a 41.7-to-1 return on investment for US hotels, and a 28.3-to-1 return on investment globally. In addition, a subset of 10 Yext-powered Marriott properties delivered 26% more searches and 225% more profile views than select comparable hotel properties in the industry. With Yext, an average of 27 duplicate listings were suppressed per hotel, mitigating confusion and streamlining search.
Marriott SEO’s Strategic Vision
Marriott’s goal of becoming the world’s favorite travel company pushes the team to think beyond the traditional hospitality playbook, and nowhere is this more important than in the company’s local digital strategy.
“We are continuing to grow and are beginning to target hotel outlets as well,” Abaziou says. “Many of our hotels have spas, restaurants, golf courses — which appeal to people who aren’t necessarily guests at our hotels. Having listings for these individual outlets and making them easy to find on mapping platforms is critical to our overall strategy.”
“We want to make it easy for our guests to find us, regardless of the platform they use,” Abaziou concludes. “We believe that Yext is the tool that will help keep our digital knowledge up-to-date and consistent across the web, and allow us to keep scaling up our local SEO efforts.”
 Derived from Marriott internal analytics