NetLink developed a centralized tool for Marriott International to manage outside wholesalers (i.e. large travel agencies that sell wholesale packages to corporations and smaller travel agencies) that need to request membership to the program and access preferred pricing for all of Marriott’s worldwide hotel properties. The tool automates membership requests and allows for the centralized management of hotel rates and related information, like transportation choices and local amenities.
Marriott International is a Fortune 500 global lodging company that has more than 3,200 properties located in the United States and 66 other countries and territories. In 2005, the company required a complete update of its online gift card site, and needed extensive external resources to provide a custom-built web architecture that could be integrated internationally, and most importantly, increase revenue.
Marriott International partnered with NetLink Resource Group to implement and manage the massive web reconstruction. At the time of the engagement, the client managed the existing gift card site internally but lacked the resources to make it more powerful and robust. The holiday gift-giving season of 2005 was six months away, and the company needed the new gift card site up and fully functional quickly.
In a span of six months, NetLink provided a completely re-built, custom architecture – using such tools as .NET and SQL Server databases – creating a dynamic, fully e-commerce-enabled site that offers the ability to purchase multiple cards sent to multiple addresses, which is integrated into Marriott’s proprietary credit card system, as well as with its third party gift card providers. The site, also hosted by NetLink, uses the most cutting-edge analytics for tracking all gift card sales, and the effectiveness of various promotional offers in real time – all viewed by product and market.
Using dynamic web technologies such as AJAX, NetLink extended the custom architecture of the gift card site into four other Marriott web offerings, including the UK version of their gift card/gift voucher site, the internal site used by US- and UK-based reservation specialists throughout the world, the Marriott wedding registry site, and its promotional site.
Since going live in November 2005, customers have purchased more than 150,000 items from the gift card sites, resulting in more than $35 million revenue for the client. NetLink continues to host and provide innovative solutions for all of the applications that make up the Marriott online gift card offering, which generates significant revenue for the hospitality leader’s global business.
A major government agency that conducts and supports medical research has a vast network of peer reviewers who review speaker and grant applicants, and require efficient and correct compensation for their efforts. The agency relied on a legacy system for up-to-date payment information for its peer reviewers. The challenge with the legacy system is that it is intended for businesses, not individuals, and as such its registrations are open to the public – making peer reviewers potentially vulnerable to receiving unsolicited commercial email and other solicitations once they have registered. To address this issue, the client required a secure, private application for peer reviewers to register their payment information.
The client partnered with NetLink to develop a secure registration solution, which is an easy-to-use web application allowing agency peer reviewers to register their banking, address, and other required information in order to receive payments from the agency. Having this information in a central registry where the data can be easily updated by the recipient results in the payments being efficiently and correctly expedited.
NetLink built the new solution completely from scratch using .NET and SQL Server both on time and within budget. As this implementation involved multiple moving parts including various types of peer reviewers, banking/financial data, as well as integration with agency legacy systems, as well as an existing application that handles reviewer payment, it was a highly complex project that required both a high level of technical expertise and top-shelf project management. Unlike the open legacy systems, the new web application was built by NetLink to be closed to the public and access to sensitive data is very limited – eliminating the possibility of receiving any unsolicited commercial email due to a registration in the system. In addition, all of the sensitive data is fully encrypted, providing an additional, vital layer of security.
The new web application is now a fully automated, highly secure web-based system that easily and efficiently allows agency peer reviewers to register to receive compensation. Registrants can now update banking information and Social Security numbers at anytime, resulting in a reduced number of improper payments. In addition, Christopher J. Hinkle, Senior Web Architect, NetLink, received two very prestigious awards for his efforts in developing this web application.