The combination of Starwood Hotels and Resorts by Marriott International created the world’s largest hotel chain, with more than 1,500 properties worldwide spread out through 140 countries and under 11 different brands.
But its success can be credited in large part to a joint strategy and optimized processes that include localized content and cutting of costs.
According to Slator, the improvement of the pair's performance since the deal can be attributed to a three-pronged joint strategy.
The first strategy is focused on the quality and optimization of content.
More specifically, according to Ora Solomon, director of digital product and globalization at Starwood, the company’s content is reflective of its global, non-English speaking audience, and it has tailored products that are specifically designed for these individualized markets.
"As our global footprint is so large (over 50% of our properties are outside the United States), having a global digital presence is crucial in meeting our growth needs. China, for instance, is one of our most strategic geographies," she says.
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The company’s second strategy involves the optimization of the translation process, and this can be credited to the company’s two-year partnership with Translations.com.
Starwood estimates that, thanks to their global reach, it has translated more than 19 million words in 2016 alone.
Because these translations are at such a high volume, streamlining and optimizing the translation process with a partnership with Translations.com has proven to not only decrease the costs of translation, but has also proven to improve the company’s ROI model that yielded a 5x return on its initial investment.
Finally, Starwood has improved its ROI throughits e-commerce sites, which are integrating thanks to a proposed joint strategy that will be unveiled next year.
Simply put, Marriott and Starwood have yet to fully integrate into one another since their merger early last year, which has created both challenges and opportunities for the mega-conglomerate.
As our global footprint is so large, having a global digital presence is crucial in meeting our growth needs. China, for instance, is one of our most strategic geographies.
Ora Solomon - Starwood
While Solomon hasn’t revealed much about what, precisely, this integration and joint strategy will entail, she says that what sets her company apart from the rest is the ability to understand the complexity of the travel audience.
Localized content is important, she says, but hyper-locality (in other words, content that is so localized that it eliminates any and all outside observers) will not be effective.
“Unlike other e-commerce companies, [we] can’t just look at the Italian market and assume Italians will visit only Italian properties.
“We need to take into account that Italians travel to multiple markets (unlike an e-tailer who can limit their translations to the catalog of products available in that market),” she says, adding that anything that makes it “easier for people to travel abroad” will prove to be a benefit for all travel companies, and not just the Starwood brand in particular.