From inspiration to purchase: how to speed up the process

Social media now play a major part in purchase inspiration, especially when it comes to fashion, beauty and travel. It is no surprise that influencer marketing is gaining more and more importance for brands in these industries. Yet, social media, which are these influencers’ main communication platforms, do not systematically offer a convenient support for promotional posts. While Facebook and Pinterest allow for visual posts and URL integration in the caption, making a great support to promote a branded message and direct viewers to a brand’s website, Instagram and Snapchat chose the opposite way. For now.

Solutions started to appear, to create a smother experience for avid followers who just want to purchase an influencers’ bag, or visit the exact same place. One of these solutions is called LikeToKnow.it and it’s a sort of extension to your Instagram. You simply need to register on their website and then like posts featuring a @liketoknow.it mention from your favorite influencers. Then, automatically, you receive a summary of your favorite posts and the shopping list associated to it, with clickable links, directly in your inbox. How’s that for a service?

An interesting example of application is from Starwood Hotels. The hotel group experimented with this feature by working with a selection of influencers to promote two hotels in Paris. Influencers simply had to post pictures of their stay there, with the right mention in the caption, and Instagrammers who liked their posts (and be registered prior to LikeToKnow.it) received an e-mail inviting them to book their stay at the same hotel in a click.

This seamless transition from getting your travel inspiration from your favorite influencers, to making the purchase decision on your phone, really eases up the purchasing process. It saves you time and effort, if you’re not the kind of traveler who wants to check multiple options and compare them in detail. It will be interesting to see other industries dive into this kind of customer experience experimentations and see which consumers are more likely to make a purchase following this path.

Are you a Four Seasons expert? Find out through a social quiz

It’s not always easy for luxury hotels and resorts to engage with customers in a simple way. Last Sunday, the Four Seasons group posted a little quiz on the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Facebook page, displaying 4 photos of their hotels and asking their fans if they recognized any of these.

Given the 285k fans of the page, the post received a quite low engagement rate: over 300 liked the post and nearly 20 commented.

Still, this quiz led to several positive results on the customer experience side. It led to a real engagement on both fans and brand sides. Fans who liked the post manifested interest in the topic, those commenting showed they had brand knowledge and showed it to other fans at the same time. Thanks to a rather low engagement in comments, the brand managed to answer to each fan who tried to answer. This personalized treatment shows the quality of service you would get in a stay at a Four Seasons resort and it surely benefits the brand image. It also gives a young and connected image of the brand, using social media to stay in touch with visitors beyond their stay.

Yet this low engagement seems to show that the Four Seasons social media strategy is not on the same level as their fans’ expectations. Other posts on the page show pictures of various resorts, redirect to the company’s website, mention recent news about resorts, but not many of them engage with customers, leading to a couple hundred likes and a few comments. Four Season should diversify its posts and make them more surprising and in line with their fans’ (if not visitors’) language and preferences.

Prestige hotels Marriott accepting Apple Pay this summer

With Apple’s keynote taking place earlier on this week, Marriott International, Inc. announced on March 9th that eleven of its hotels will be accepting Apple Pay starting this summer.

Marriott is already a highly digitized company. Indeed, the business intelligence agency L2 Inc. released a Prestige Hotels ranking after assessing companies’ digital efforts, and Marriott ranked 6th in 2014, making it a “gifted” company (which is the 2nd ranking after “genius”).

Apple-Pay-in-action

The hotel company owns prestige hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton hotels that will be among the first hotels to use Apple Pay. Marriott International has already launched an entire campaign aiming at getting customers engaged with the improvement of Marriott’s service. This “Travel brilliantly” campaign is showcased in a beautiful and user-friendly website that is easy to navigate, and lists Marriott’s innovations to make visitors’ stay even better. For example, the company launched several apps, allowing travelers to program their visit (check-in or check-out, room booking) or to use guest services (digital key to the room, guest requests).

Using Apple Pay in Marriott hotels will take these convenient digital services one take further to transform travelers’ stay into an even smoother, practical and enjoyable experience. It will be available on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as on the Apple Watch once the company will have developed the adequate app.