What is the impact of the SoLoMo on the strategies of luxury hotel groups for the local markets


Published on

Graduated in international communications, I received honors for this work that explains why mobile marketing is so important for the luxury hotel groups.
I hope you will enjoy this reading moment.

Published in: Marketing, Travel, Business
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

What is the impact of the SoLoMo on the strategies of luxury hotel groups for the local markets

  1. 1. MEMOIRE THE LUXURY HOTEL INDUSTRY What is the impact of the SoLoMo on the strategies of the luxury hotel groups for the local markets? Tutor: Mrs. E. ALBRYCHT Director: Mrs. Marie CAZAUX - Director of public relations France – Starwood Hotel and Resort worldwide Camille BAUDOU International Class - Mai 2013
  2. 2. SUMMARY Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………….P.4 PART 1: Luxury hotel industry and SoLoMo: The situation………………………………….P.7 I. The luxury hotel market, an innovative sector…………………………………………….P.7 1.The market ..……………………………………………………………………………………..P.7 2.The consumer ………………………………………………………………………………….P.9 3.The competition ……………………………………………………………………………...P.10 4.The communication medium for the LHI ………………………………………………...P.14 II. SoLoMo as a very helpful new communication concept for brands………………P.17 1.What is SoLoMo?............................................................................................................P.17 2.The mobile user………………………………………………………………………………..P.18 3.Why SoLoMo is a tendency to follow……………………………………………………..P.19 4.Mobile and Location…………………………………………………………………………P.20 5.Mobile and Social…………………………………………………………………………….P.21 6.Social and location…………………………………………………………………………..P.22 7.SoLoMo’s Dangers……………………………………………………………………………P.22 III. The luxury hotel industry needs SoLoMo to adapt itself to a new demand……..P.23 1.Improve the quality of service with SoLoMo…………………………………………….P.23 2.What could be risky?.....................................................................................................P.24 3.What would bring SoLoMo to a hotel brand strategy? ………………………………P.25 PART 2: Solomo impacts the strategies of the luxury hotels at the local level  analysis……………………………………………………………………………………………P.26 I. Intercontinental hotel: a strong SoLoMo strategy……………………………………...P.26 II. SoLoMo Strategy of W hotels, strong and targeted…………………………………...P.29 2! !
  3. 3. III. Four Seasons – Locally adapted like their hotels………………………………………P.32 IV. Amble – Louis Vuitton’s SoLoMo success……………………………………………….P.34 PART 3: An innovative idea for the luxury hotel industry: when SoLoMo meets PASSBOOK………………………………………………………………………………………...P.39 I. A project adaptable to the Luxury hotel Industry……………………………………….P.39 II. Illustration of our idea with the W hotel brand…………………………………………..P.43 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………..P.48 Acknowledgement……………………………………………………………………………..P.50 Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………………...P.51 3! !
  4. 4. Introduction The luxury hotel industry is a field that must really attach some importance to the service offered to the consumer. This industry has always known how to evolve with its time, and this is an important fact. The luxury hotel industry, and more globally the luxury industry is one of the only areas that are facing the economic crisis quite easily. To take advantage of this position on the market, the marketers need to follow the global tendencies. In a world gone digital the luxury hotel groups have to follow the trends and be trendsetter on their own profession. The idea to study the luxury hotel industry for my master thesis came to me when I was trying to book a hotel online for my holidays. Of course, it wasn’t for a luxury hotel but the problem was that there wasn’t any interaction on the different device I had access to (not anything on my phone nor on the social networks…). I decided to have a look on the way they were going on in luxury hotels, and it was completely different. A real experience was created for the consumer. But now the question is: how to improve the experience of the consumer by using other medium? Today in the US 92% of hotel reservations are made directly from the Internet1 that is why the marketers have to work on the websites and on digital marketing. But there are also new means of communication that marketers have to exploit. Here we have to understand to make the use of new strategies based on digital. The strategy we are going to talk about is SoLoMo. SoLoMo is based on the use of the social networks, the geo-location principle and the mobile technology. The consumer is going beyond the website of a hotel to book his holidays. He needs more than that. He needs advice from other consumers; he needs a digital experience, new services adapted to his needs. A SoLoMo strategy is perfectly adapted to the new ways of looking for a hotel. My master thesis director Marie Cazaux was very interested about this concept of SoLoMo in the luxury hotel industry. She is working for Starwood hotel and resort, a giant of the luxury hotel industry in the world (7th rank worldwide2). She is working for the public relations but is very attracted to new technologies and digital. She helped me to understand better the world of the luxury hotel industry, to get some interesting interviews of marketing directors from Starwood, and she gave me advice to build a !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1!See!annex!n°1!1:!L2!Think!Tank,!«!Digital!IQ!index!hotels!2013!»,!13!pages,!page!2! 2!See!annex!n°2,!MKG!hospitality!2012,!“top!10!ranking!groups!in!the!world!1!January!2012”!! 4! !
  5. 5. coherent strategy for one of the Starwood’s brand. I have decided to look toward the W hotels. This Starwood brand is really turned into digital and targets a younger audience. Moreover W hotel have been rewarded as the 1st digital hotel brand in 20133. They already have a SoLoMo strategy, but the experience is not completely adapted to a local level. We will study this later in the second part of the master thesis when we will study the W brand’s case. The problematic of my work is the following one: What is the impact of the SoLoMo on the strategies of the luxury hotel groups for the local markets? That means: how the luxury hotel brands are using a SoLoMo strategy to focus on the local market? How to measure the success or the fail of such a strategy? How do we manage to change the relationship with the customers? We are going to answer those questions through a strong plan. The first part of the master thesis is going to focus on the situation of the luxury hotel industry and the SoLoMo and how do they work together. The second part is going to be the analysis of the subject: how the SoLoMo impacts the strategies of the luxury hotels at the local level. In this part we are going to analyse case studies of the following brands: the W hotel, Intercontinental, Four Seasons and Amble (Mobile app of Louis Vuitton) while also taking in account the ideas and advice of the professionals I interviewed. o Nicolas Hauvespre: Marketing director north Europe @Starwood o Natan Schauder: Marketing director France @Starwood o Raphaël Journé: Mobile Director @Care Agency o Charlotte Politti: Digital Consultant @Heaven Agency !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3!See!annex!n°1:!L2!Think!Tank,!«!Digital!IQ!index!hotels!2013!»,!13!pages,!page!4! 5! !
  6. 6. And finally the third part is going to be axed on a new concept that we are advising to the luxury hotel industry marketers, and we will study a concrete example to illustrate it better. Building this master thesis has been a real challenge for me, but I wanted to give back a real advanced and reflective work. I wish you a very nice reading moment. 6! !
  7. 7. PART 1: Luxury hotel industry and SoLoMo: The situation During this first part we are going to take an overview about the luxury hotel industry market, the consumer insights, the opportunities of this sector, and the way luxury hotels are communicating in this industry. We are also going to see what SoLoMo is and why it is an efficient and reliable way to communicate nowadays. And finally we will see how SoLoMo is a good solution in term of communication for the luxury hotels. I. The luxury hotel industry market, an innovative sector Luxury hotels are offering personalized and very luxurious services to their customers. As the customers are evolving with the society and its tendencies, the hotels have to follow those trends to offer their customers the best services they can. 1. The luxury hotel industry market: challenges of the changes: The luxury hotel industry’s market has been facing many changes over the last years. First, the economic crisis has particularly impacted the international travel for business customers. The companies are cancelling some meetings and conferences all over the world to save money. The employees are asked to favour online conferences instead of travelling meetings. According to a study by Market Metrix for The European Business Review “44% of business travellers say they’ll travel less in 2009 compared to 30% in the coming year”4. But for leisure, the reservations have increased (from 13% to 14% in value5). During these difficult times, people are more likely to travel in their own country or continent. The customers are spending less in their travel but more for their hotel. For instance in Europe, people prefer to change their itinerary to reduce the cost of their travel. A French couple would rather travel in Europe or in France in a luxury hotel !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4!Luxury!hotel!recession!a!view!from!around!the!world,!2013,!www.europeanbusinessreview.com! 5!Le!marché!de!l’hôtelerie!de!luxe!épargné!par!la!crise,!2012,!www.lhotellerierestauration.com! 7! !
  8. 8. instead of choosing a trip in the United States where they would spend a lot for the plane tickets. Talking about destinations, let’s have a look to the most popular destination amongst travellers. Till the 1990’s, France has been the first destination for tourism. This country is followed by the US with 62.3 million of travellers, China with 57.6 million, Spain with 56.5 million and finally Italy with 46.1 million of visitors6. These countries are attracting the travellers for their culture, landscapes and heritage. One other thing has particularly changed the consumption of the luxury hotel industry. It is of course the growth of the use of Internet for the choice of a hotel. Even if the travel-specialized media still have an importance in the choice of a consumer for their luxury hotel (we think about global magazines like Luxury Travel Magazine, Monocle, etc.) today the most important point is about the connection and reputation of luxury hotel brands online. 20% of the reservations of luxury hotels are made because of web research and this number is going to increase over next years because the world is going digital and mobile (with the tab and mobile technology)7. But one of the most important things in the reservation is that the word-of-mouth is very important in the decision process. According to the same study by Market Metrix, approximately 30% of all luxury guests are inspired to choose a travel destination from friend’s recommendations8. Thanks to this data we might add the fact that social networks can play an important role in the decision process because friends or followers are always recommending some tips for holidays on these media. It is also one of the big issues of the world’s digitalization for luxury hotels marketers. The luxury traveller is also changing and evolving over the years and today he has a different behaviour from few years ago. He is an experience lover and likes to be surprised but not only, he has today even more high expectations. That is what we are going to study in the next part. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 6!World!Tourism!Ranking,!2012,!Wikipédia,!en.wikipedia.org! 7!See!Annex!N°!16!:!Chart!consider!the!last!time!you!visited!a!new!destination!for!leisure.!What!inspired! you!to!travel!to!that!location?!European!business!review,!2013.! 8!See!Annex!N°!16!:!Chart!consider!the!last!time!you!visited!a!new!destination!for!leisure.!What!inspired! you!to!travel!to!that!location?!European!business!review,!2013.! 8! !
  9. 9. 2. The luxury traveller – A consumer with high expectations. As we just said before, the luxury hotel industry is facing multiple challenges including the transformation in the consumer’s behaviour. This is a real challenge because we must respond to these new expectations to satisfy the guests. So what are these new tendencies that have changed the consumer’s behaviour? Today the consumers of luxury hotels are looking for entertainment. They are still looking after a great quality of service but they are also expecting to live a real experience through their journey. Who are the main consumers of these hotels, where do they come from? There are different types of customers in the luxury hotel industry. We first have to differentiate two main groups of customers that do not have the same expectations. They are B2C groups and B2B customers. Let’s begin with the B2C. They are luxury travellers who are travelling to discover a country or a city in a luxurious atmosphere. According to a study from the Affluence Collaborative for Four Seasons, these customers have a strong purchasing power, they have a high financial status and are likely to spend money for a good luxury service. But what are they expecting from their hotel? Among them 34% are waiting for customization (a special service offer adapted to what they like), 32% expect the company’s hotel to be unique and totally innovative, and 32% are expecting to be surprised and to live an incredible experience during their stay. They like to get attentions and also to be pampered9. Where do they come from? They are coming from rich and developed countries like the United States, France, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, etc. They are also coming from emerging markets: it’s a brand new target for the luxury hotel industry marketers. They are accustomed to a very classic luxury; they are nouveau-riche people, who just reached a new social status that allow them to have an access to this type of hotels. They are coming from Mexico, China, Brazil, Russia, India, etc. The B2B consumer is a very particular target. It is often big business groups who enjoy partnerships with other hotel groups. In the hotel they are looking to organize seminars, conventions or events in a luxurious atmosphere. They also use luxury hotels !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 9!See!annex!N°3:!Four!Seasons,!«The%luxury%consumer%in%the%new%digital%world%then%and%now%»!2012,!9! pages,!page!3! 9! !
  10. 10. as a place where their chief executives can stay during their business travels. They are asking for reactivity and personalized B2B services. Why is digital a key issue to target our customers? According to Chuck Martin author of “The Third Screen”: with the digitalization of the world we are observing the rise of the Untethered consumer10. The following information is available for the mobile but also for the other digital devices. So, who is the Untethered consumer? He is a consumer who does not use all the time the traditional media like TV, Press and Radio and heads more toward digital media/devices. With all his digital devices he interacts with his friends (word-ofmouth) through the social networks, he compares all the offers to get the best deal; he also likes to live a real experience through his shopping. He wants to be in the brand universe before experimenting it for real. Of course this Untethered consumer is part of the target of the luxury hotel industry because the “wealthy ones” are digital lovers. Indeed according to The Affluence Collaborative for Four Seasons “57% among them like to have the latest gadget and to know about what’s next in new technologies. 72% of the wealthy are active on Facebook. And according to The Luxury Institute, one-third of wealthy consumers own a tablet or an e-reader. 71% of guests bring their iPhones or smartphone and 61% their iPad or other tablet on their travel.” 11 There is also a real issue about digital: the e-reputation’s management of a brand to face all the competitors of the luxury hotel market. It is a highly competitive market. Let’s now have a look to the different stakeholders of the market. 3. The Luxury hotel industry - a highly competitive market: On this market there are many different stakeholders. What are the differences between these competitors, who are they trying to attract, what are their positioning? Let’s have a deep look into it. Traditionally, the luxury hotel industry is divided in 5 parts: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 10!Martin,!Chuck,!“The%Third%Screen,%Marketing%to%your%Customers%in%a%world%gone%mobile”,!Nicolas!Brealey! Publishing,!Boston,!2011,!207!pages,!page!1! 11!See!annex!N°!3:!Four!Seasons,!«The%luxury%consumer%in%the%new%digital%world%then%and%now%»!2012,!9! pages,!page!3! 10! !
  11. 11. b The palaces: very prestigious hotels, which are recognised for their know-how and the beauty of the places. The George V in Paris for example (Four Seasons). b The great luxury hotels: well-known and recognised hotels coming from big international groups and internationally located. For example Intercontinental, Sofitel, W… b Small distinctive hotels: they are known for their quality of service and their proximity with the customers. It is a human-scale kind of luxury. We can name the French hotel chain “Les Fermes de Marie” located in the French Alps and other independent hotels. b The jumbo jets: they are known for their enormous accommodation facilities but they are of course respecting the luxury codes. We can name the Hilton hotels. b The last ones are the first class hotels, which are corresponding to the 4-stars hotels (Westin – Starwood H&R). Nevertheless, there are also new entrants in this industry. According to the study about the luxury hotel industry by Precepta (Xerfi group) there are two types of new entrants in this sector. There is a double competition12. One is internal to the industry: among this we can notice a growing repositioning strategy of the market (the classification of palace for example) and also the arrival of new luxury hotels’ chains coming directly from the emerging markets. Among them we can name two of the biggest chain coming from Asia: the Mandarin Oriental and The Shangri La. The other origin of competition is external to the market. There are few hotel chains that are created by luxury groups. We can talk in this case about LVMH, which is one of the biggest luxury groups in the world. LVMH opened “Le Cheval Blanc”, which is a design-positioned luxury hotel brand. We can also talk about Armani, the famous Italian luxury fashion brand, which opened its first hotel in Dubai in 2010 and an other one in Milan the following year. There are also other ways to get luxury services without having to stay in a luxury hotel. People can stay in luxury tourism residences (very used for the business consumption as the services are cheaper and because they have to reduce their !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 12!See!Annex!N°4,!Precepta!Groupe!Xerfi,!«L’Hôtellerie%haut%de%gamme%et%de%luxe%en%France!»,!2008,!2!pages,! Page!2! 11! !
  12. 12. costs). Another possibility: booking luxury villas (more for leisure consumption for holiday, but it can also be used for seminars or conventions for business). What are the issues of this highly competitive market? First of all, the hotels have a strong strategy based on their identity. The consumer has to associate the brand with the architecture of the building. The hotels have to offer a particular range of services and attach a particular importance to communication. The brands also have to control the distribution canals, because since the rise of the Internet, the travel agencies are controlling the reservations (for example Trip Advisor, Liligo, Expedia, etc.). We can notice it involves an image issue because with tour operators we miss the luxury positioning of the brand. The hotel groups have to work on direct reservation online: they have to develop their online ranking (search engine optimization). It is also highly recommended for luxury hotel brands to create interaction and connection with the Internet users. It is of high importance to strategically create a social community (followers for instance), in order to federate online users. 12! !
  13. 13. To conclude this part about competition, here is an illustration of these ideas with a mapping: This mapping has two axes: one is about the historical canal of the hotel industry and the new entrants, the other is about the ways they manage their image. We can say that the traditional hotels seem to have a better strategy - talking about the image than the new entrants. But the new entrants coming from the emerging markets have a very strong strategy too, and are evolving quickly. Some of the traditional hotels do not have a strong enough image and this is a real problem. They have to rework on this for the future or the new entrants will easily take their place. Communication is a very important point for the luxury hotel brands’ image. The luxury hotels have to communicate in the right way toward their target to differentiate themselves from the numerous competitors. 13! !
  14. 14. 4. Communication in the luxury hotel industry: Since the rise of the Internet, communication has changed in all fields and it is the same diagnosis as far as concern the luxury hotel industry. But some brands still communicate in traditional media. What are the main communication tendencies in the luxury hotel industry? We are going to divide our analysis in two parts. We are first going to see that luxury hotel brands are still communicating through traditional media (press), public relations and finally direct marketing. Then we will see that these brands communicate more and more online and through all the digital devices. Even if online communication has become the biggest tendency in the way luxury brands communicate, they are still advertising through traditional media. We of course have to say they are not all concerned by these changes. We can put aside the television, the radio, display and cinema. Indeed marketers are particularly investing in press. The hotels that still have to pay for advertising spaces are the small hotel brands. They are competing against very well known brands, and paid media are indeed a solution for them. They are placing their ads in travel magazines, locally adapted luxury magazines (Côte&Magazine, in South of France), business travellers magazines etc. This type of communication for luxury hotels is very rare today13. But some big groups like Ritz-Carlton are still communicating through this canal. Anyway, marketers are trying to work more on their own media but also on PR and direct marketing. Let’s begin with PR. It is very important to work a lot on PR in the luxury hotel industry. It is important for luxury hotels to stay visible in media through PR because journalists and bloggers (with the rise of e-PR) are still influencing people’s hotel choice. There are many articles about the luxury hotel industry in all the magazines and newsletters but also on television and online. To ensure them a good reputation the luxury hotels !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 13!See!Annex!n°5:!examples!of!paid!media!in!the!press! 14! !
  15. 15. have to communicate regularly toward journalists, tell them about innovations in the sector, about current trends, etc14. Direct marketing is also often used in the luxury hotel industry. It is always very discrete because in this industry the customer has to feel exclusive and to get a personalized message or offer. That is why marketers are using very qualitative tools: for example Ritz-Carton is sending very personalized mailings and e-mailings to their loyal customers to let them know about special offers and to promote their loyalty program. They are also sending the Ritz-Carlton magazine to their loyal customers; it is like a gift for them and it also allows the customer to be aware of the latest news in the group’s hotels15. Let’s now have a deeper look at the digital part. For the elaboration of this part we have used the very complete L2 Think Tank report “Digital IQ Index: Hotels” that you will find annex 116. What are the most important devices used by marketers to get in touch with customers? b The website: it is the mainly used digital platform in the luxury hotel industry. It is the first step for customers to live the hotel’s experience. The potential customer is checking on the website all the information about the hotel. The website has to be the window of the hotel and it has to give a great overview of what the customers are going to live during their journey. The website also allows to manage a good customer relationship after his stay because he can find on it all the loyalty programs. The customer also has the possibility to access a direct customer service during his journey. 40% of the marketer’s strategy in the luxury hotel industry is dedicated to the website. b Digital marketing: it is also a very important point because without digital marketing it might be very difficult to generate traffic on the website. It all begins with a good search engine optimization, because if the hotel does not ensure it, travel agencies and tour operators would be ranked before the hotels’ websites. But it is also about display, e-PR and e-mailing. The hotels must have an irreproachable e-reputation. The digital marketing represents 30% of the strategy. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 14!See!Annex!n°5:!examples!of!press!fallouts! 15!See!annex!n°6:!“RitzbCarlton!engages!its!guests!across!channels.! 16!See!annex!n°1:!L2!Think!Tank,!«!Digital!IQ!index!hotels!2013!»,!13!pages,!Page!3! 15! !
  16. 16. b Mobile: it is going to be one of the main issues of the next few years but today mobile is already very used in the luxury hotel industry. Communication on the mobile device has become a very important fact, namely amongst the business target. It is a good device to work on a local problematic, but also a good way to stay in touch with customers wherever they are. There are few ways to communicate on this device for the marketers: build a mobile site (that of course has to have a different content of the website), build mobile application (IOS and Android are the leaders) or launch display on mobile app or mobile website that will redirect to the hotel mobile site or app. 20% of the marketer’s strategy is dedicated to mobile in the luxury hotel industry. b Social Media: today social media are very powerful and of course the luxury hotel brands have to be connected to interact with their customer and respond to their requests. Indeed in the luxury hotel industry service has to be everywhere even on the social networks. The hotels particularly use several platforms. We can name: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, but also other emerging social media like Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr… But some hotel brands do not hesitate to create their own social media platform. Their wish is to create a real community, which is going to be loyal to the brand. 10% of their strategy is dedicated to social media. Thus, we can say that even if the way of advertising to customers has changed, the luxury hotel industry keeps working on communication. It is interesting to see the changes through years and to observe how digital has become one of the biggest issues in the way marketers are advertising in the luxury hotel industry. Here is the end of our first part about the luxury hotel industry and its evolution through years. We are now going to get a little further in our subject. Let’s now see what the SoLoMo is. 16! !
  17. 17. II. SoLoMo, a new communication concept very helpful to the brands Through this second part, we are going to study what SoLoMo is and why it is an efficient and reliable way to communicate today. We are also going to see, who are the targets and we will finally add a little description of the situation of social media, the geo-location and the mobile marketing and technology. Let’s go straight to the point and have a concrete explanation of what SoLoMo is. 1. What is SoLoMo? SoLoMo is an acronym that regroups the social networks, the geo-location technology and the mobile devices. SoLoMo is all about services you can find on your mobile devices. It gathers global information, the possibility to exchange with your community through an included social network or through traditional social media and finally the geo-location service that is sometime very helpful to the user and is a real added value. We have to specify that the word “mobile” regroups the following devices: smartphones and touchpads. This concept was born since the mobile became one of the most used devices by the consumers. Indeed this device allows the user to buy a product or service directly from his phone or tab (this is the m-commerce), he can also chat with people and friends on social media, take pictures and send them on the social networks, get a location, and many other possibilities. As Chuck Martin explains in his book, mobile is today the third most important screen in people’s life. The first one was TV in the 1950’s, and then the computer at the end of the 1990’s17. But nowadays we can obviously say that mobile is the screen of the moment. According to Strategy Analytics’ study, 1/7 person in the world in owning a Smartphone, which is huge. This analysis predicts that in the year 2015 there will be 1 billion Smartphone users18. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 17!Martin,!Chuck,!“The%Third%Screen,%Marketing%to%your%Customers%in%a%world%gone%mobile”,!Nicolas!Brealey! Publishing,!Boston,!2011,!207!pages,!Introduction! 18!La!tribune,!«!Déjà!1!milliard!d’utilisateurs!de!Smartphone!dans!le!monde!»,!17/10/2012,! www.latribune.fr! 17! !
  18. 18. Almost everybody has a mobile phone and through SoLoMo it might be interesting to communicate toward consumers. Who are the mobile consumers? Let’s have a look to it. 2. The mobile user: This part was written with the help of Chuck Martin’s book The Third Screen – Marketing to your customer in a world gone mobile. He is a mobile marketing expert and he gives a very good definition about the famous Untethered consumer19. Who is he? This consumer is a consumer who does not use all the time the traditional media and heads more toward digital media and devices. He uses his Smartphone and it is a totally personal device. He does not let anyone touch his phone, or it will directly touch his privacy. He becomes an m-powered customer “The mobile customer can check prices on location, compare items against competitor’s offering, and get on-the-spot recommendation from friends”20. The m-powered consumer is easy to lose if we don’t attract him the right way; he compares everything especially the prices to get the best deal. We know that there are 75 countries where cell phone penetration exceeds population. It’s because many people have 2 phones, one for personal use and another one for professional use. In the book we can find a part about luxury brands and mobile: “As mobile grows in all parts of the world, it is also affecting luxury brands, which may have waited along the digital side-lines until the capacity arrived to electronically replicate the luxury brand experience21”. Indeed, luxury brands have to create a real experience on the digital devices to touch the Untethered consumer. Let’s have a look to a typical day of the Untethered consumer22: b First when he wakes up, he turns on his tab to watch the news, to check his emails and notifications on various social networks. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 19!Martin,!Chuck,!“The%Third%Screen,%Marketing%to%your%Customers%in%a%world%gone%mobile”,!Nicolas!Brealey! Publishing,!Boston,!2011,!207!pages,!page!1! 20!Martin,!Chuck,!“The%Third%Screen,%Marketing%to%your%Customers%in%a%world%gone%mobile”,!Nicolas!Brealey! Publishing,!Boston,!2011,!207!pages,!page!3! 21!Martin,!Chuck,!“The%Third%Screen,%Marketing%to%your%Customers%in%a%world%gone%mobile”,!Nicolas!Brealey! Publishing,!Boston,!2011,!207!pages,!page!18! 22!See!Annex!n°7:!Chart!of!TNSbMobile!Life!which!confirms!the!theory! 18! !
  19. 19. b Then on his way to work he checks his phone, he is using applications, and he also checks his e-mails and notifications. b When he arrives at work he turns on his business computer and is exposed to different messages but always has a connection to his phone. During the day and particularly during lunchtime he connects to the social networks. b When his working day is over, he goes back home and checks once more his phone to use applications and checks his e-mails and notifications. b At the end of the day and particularly in the evening he turns on his tab to entertain, and to communicate on the social media. We also have to insist on the fact that during holidays or travels people are systematically taking with them their new technological partners: Smartphone and other touchpads23. This typical day of the Untethered consumers assets that brands have to stay in touch with this type of consumers. A SoLoMo strategy is perfectly adapted to target the Untethered consumer. 3. Why is SoLoMo a tendency to follow? As the consumer has evolved since the last few years, communication has to follow this evolution and has to adapt to the new way of media consumption. SoLoMo is perfectly adapted to it. We can notice that the leaders of the World Wide Web are also following this new tendency. We can name the famous search engine brand Google, the social networks Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and many other brands like Groupon, Amazon, etc24. The brands have to follow this tendency, as it becomes today the new way to communicate. And of course they are already doing it. In the second part of this master thesis, we will have a look to some case studies of hotel brands and other brands that are using SoLoMo in their communication strategy. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 23!See!annex!n°3:!Four!Seasons,!«The%luxury%consumer%in%the%new%digital%world%then%and%now%»!2012,!9! pages,!page!8! 24!See!Appendix!n°8:!Chart!that!regroups!the!different!points!of!SoLoMo!of!a!few!worldwide!known! brands,!Vanksen.fr,%“SoLoMo%une%constatation%importante”,%03/11/2011)! 19! !
  20. 20. 4. Mobile and location: Chuck Martin, Author of The Third Screen explains us that there is a new marketing solution, which is very efficient to target the Untethered consumer. It is the locationbased marketing (LMB)25. It is all about reaching the consumer with an advertising message based on the location of his phone. The location of the customer is not the only important thing, it is also the movement of the customer: for example if he is near an airport that means he is going to travel and that may mean that he is going to look for an hotel and also to get some tips about his destination. The author calls this analysis of the customer’s movement “In motion research”. With this we can see where the customers are going and what they do. What are the most used techniques to attract the customers? b Location drivers: the brands will deliver coupons or discount on some products or services to attract the consumer if he is around the store. b Location magnet: this is an offer, which is going to be sent to the customer when he arrives in the store. b Location activators: when the mobile customer buys a product, he will get discounts or coupons directly on his phone. The objective of this point is to make him come again and consume other product or services similar to what he already bought26. Digital coupons are increasingly used by brands and it becomes a real issue for mobile marketing. With mobile devices, you don’t need to print your coupons anymore nor receive a printed mail that you would have to bring at the store. They are well placed on your phone waiting to be scanned, as you always carry your phone with you, you can always have an access to them. “Number one mobile marketing category based on return on investment is coupons”27. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 25!Martin,!Chuck,!“The%Third%Screen,%Marketing%to%your%Customers%in%a%world%gone%mobile”,!Nicolas!Brealey! Publishing,!Boston,!2011,!207!pages,!page!123! 26!Martin,!Chuck,!“The%Third%Screen,%Marketing%to%your%Customers%in%a%world%gone%mobile”,!Nicolas!Brealey! Publishing,!Boston,!2011,!207!pages,!page!122! 27!Martin,!Chuck,!“The%Third%Screen,%Marketing%to%your%Customers%in%a%world%gone%mobile”,!Nicolas!Brealey! Publishing,!Boston,!2011,!207!pages,!page!125! 20! !
  21. 21. The mapping is also an interesting device we should use. It allows to geo-locate yourself to see what is around you, and this is a real added value for the consumer as it offers him a new service to help him in his daily life. 5. Mobile and Social Media: Social media have an increasing importance in people’s life. They are sharing information, advice, and opinions on social networks, which are becoming very powerful. Today brands must have a social media strategy. As the world is going mobile, social media have evolved to become mobile platforms. Today people can share anywhere, at any time. Social networks are the way to spread word of mouth. Brands have to be present on the social media to keep in touch with their customers or people who like their brands. How do they have to deal with it? There is an important statement: companies are beginning to give up the traditional customer relationship management (SMS, mail, call centre, etc.) in favour of the social network management. The brands have to create a real relationship with their customers on social networks. It is very important for a company to build a strong and loyal community of followers and likers, who are going to interact with them. They have to build a social marketing strategy based on the rule of the 4 I according to the theory of Christine Balague and David Fayon in their book Facebook, Twitter et les autres: implication, interaction, intimacy and influence28. But creating a social network strategy could be risky for a brand. If they are not controlled enough by the company, the users can take the control and blame the brand. With the power of mobile it is even truer. Today people are connected all day long on social media thanks to their mobile. They are using several platforms: among them we can name Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare, Instagram and many others. We have to precise that the previously named social networks are the most known and used in the world but there are many others that have the same functionalities but are locally adapted to some countries. As an example we could point QQ or Renren in China, Orkut in Brazil and India, or Mixi in Japan, which are direct competitors of Facebook. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 28!Christine!BALAGUE!and!David!FAYON,!“Facebook,%Twitter%et%les%autres”,%Pearson,%France,%2012,%231% pages,%page%96! 21! !
  22. 22. 6. Social medias and location: Indeed, social media and location are extremely linked. Because today on almost all social media platforms you can geo-locate yourself to tell where you are to your close friends, or to tell something is happening in a precise location. It is an extremely important point for the brands. We have today to encourage people to tell on social media that they are at a certain event, organized by a certain brand, or shopping in a particular shop, or staying in a certain hotel. It is also a way to be promoted by the customers and to spread word-of-mouth through social media. Some social networks are dedicated to geo-location. We can take the example of Foursquare. This platform is used to tell your friends where you are and what you are doing. A competition is set – you can be the mayor of a certain place (it can be a shop, a museum, a restaurant or whatever). Sometimes, brands are working with Foursquare to build their strategy and are setting contests. For example a bar could launch a contest on Facebook: the Foursquare Mayor in May would win free beers. It would encourage the traffic in the bar through Foursquare. 6. SoLoMo’s dangers: We have to say that SoLoMo is not the best practice to protect personal data and privacy. Of course it is creating some risks. We first have to say that the mobile user isn’t very careful. Almost nobody reads the general terms and conditions when downloading something on his phone. When downloading an application, we are delivering all our personal data. And if we accept to open our location data, brands will be able to access our precise location at any time. So today people have the feeling that there is something wrong. Their personal data are not safe anymore and they are very worried about it. Even if states are reinforcing the laws to protect the personal data, there is always a way to get round the law. Of course we can understand these fears of intrusion in our private life through mobile technology. SoLoMo has some pervert aspects but people also like to interact with brands, and they are also warned by the general terms and conditions of use. If they do not read them, they are not aware that brands can use their data. 22! !
  23. 23. To end this part about SoLoMo, we can say that it is a very innovative and powerful concept that brands should use if they want to target the Untethered consumer who has new media consumption behaviour. Let’s now focus on SoLoMo and the luxury hotel industry. Why is it a good communication tool to target the luxury customers? III. The Luxury Industry needs SoLoMo to adapt its strategy to a new audience: As the other sectors, the luxury hotel industry has evolved with its time. And it is all the more important for this business given the fact that the customer service must be irreproachable. SoLoMo has to offer a plus service to the hotel brand’s customers, with an incredible brand experience. That is what the luxury consumer is expecting. 1. Improve the quality of service through SoLoMo: We have already noticed in the previous parts that the quality of service is very important for a luxury hotel. So how would SoLoMo improve it? First of all, SoLoMo could help the consumer through his reservation. We know that today many reservations are made through mobile platforms, and SoLoMo could make his reservation more interactive. For example if we make a reservation through a mobile app and we want to ask a question, you don’t need to send an email anymore. There will be a link to the Twitter or Facebook page of the hotel and through the social media the customer will have a quick and more personalized answer. There could also be a link to the TripAdvisor page of the hotel, to be totally transparent with the customer; we know that word-of-mouth is very important for the reservation of a hotel. What is also important for customers is to live a real brand experience through his reservation. The SoLoMo platform has to be the virtual reflect of the brand, to catch the customer’s attention and to make him think that this hotel is the best. All the different luxury hotels have different values and positioning. The customer has to feel and live an unusual experience during the reservation and also during his stay. With a 23! !
  24. 24. SoLoMo platform we could think that if the customer is waiting for a cab at the airport and that the queue is huge, he could tweet it on the hotel’s Twitter feed, the hotel would send him a car to catch him at the airport. To get a little more familiar with the city he his discovering thanks to the geo-location we could imagine an integrated map on the application that would guide the consumer through the city, and some tips would be given (nice restaurants, places to visit, shops, of course always linked to luxury). Through Facebook or Twitter the consumer could directly share his location with his friends and give them his tips. By promoting implicitly the hotel the consumer could collect points on his account to get a free drink or dinner or any particular attention that the customers always like. This SoLoMo platform can also be a direct and mobile platform of information, if there is a current event in the city where they are staying it could be mentioned on the home page for example. This type of service is local and would work through geo-location. SoLoMo offers many options to the consumer and we will have a deep look to it when we will have a look to the case studies in the second part. 2. Why SoLoMo could be risky for the luxury hotel industry? We know that customers like the quality of the luxury service, but we also know that the customers like calm and simplicity, they don’t want to be disturbed and they are looking for certain discretion from the hotel. By using a SoLoMo strategy in the luxury market we have to be careful not to be too intrusive during the customer stay. We have to limit the push and encourage the pull. The SoLoMo must drive the customer to the hotel and not the contrary or the customer would feel upset by the intrusion of the hotel. It has to be a helpful platform for the consumer, not an application to promote things. But if the promotions are implicitly relayed, it might be ok and well received by the customer. Just one thing, it always has to be an added value for him. The luxury hotel has to stay human because it is about interaction and connection with people. Asking physically a service through a concrete demand is important for the customer and it is a way to write a story and to win the loyalty of the customers for the hotel. It is one of the most important levels of the customer relationship. According to the study carried out by Four Seasons hotels “Travellers still value simple in-person 24! !
  25. 25. interaction, particularly where it makes things faster, easier and more comfortable. When asked how they’d prefer to be checked in for business and leisure, most said they’d like to be greeted either curb side or at the front desk and provided their room key, rather than simply checking online or at the kiosk.”29. That means technology will never replace human relationships in the luxury hotel industry they just have to cohabit in the right way. 3. What would bring SoLoMo to a luxury hotel brand strategy? Luxury hotel brands often have a strong communication strategy. What could SoLoMo bring to their strategy? SoLoMo could be a real added value for the strategy of the luxury hotel brands. It is a very powerful tool for marketers. First because it can target the customers wherever they are and at any time. Whereas in traditional media we cannot do it because we are not sure they are going to be exposed to the message. It is also a very good way to create a community of loyal customers. As they share their experience on social media and live an experience through SoLoMo they will likely book the same hotel brand for their next vacation. SoLoMo is a good way to stay in touch with the customer after his journey. We can ask him through a questionnaire for example if he enjoyed his stay, what could have been improved etc. There are many tools to measure the success of a SoLoMo strategy even if it is not always easy: we can estimate how many users booked with the app, how many of them are using it, how many discussions it has generated on social networks, etc. SoLoMo is a real innovation and hotel brands have already noticed it. That is what we are going to see in the second part by analyzing case studies. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 29!See!annex!n°3:!Four!Seasons,!«The%luxury%consumer%in%the%new%digital%world%then%and%now%»!2012,!9! pages,!page!3! 25! !
  26. 26. PART 2: Has SoLoMo an impact on the luxury hotels’ strategy at the local level? In this second part, we are going to analyze different case studies about SoLoMo and the luxury hotel industry. We are going to be helped by interviews of digital and mobile experts and marketers from the luxury hotel industry. We are going to study the strategies of the following hotels: Intercontinental, Four Seasons and W hotel. We are also going to have a look to the successful strategy of Louis Vuitton with its mobile app Amble. Our objective is also to analyze if there is really an impact at the local level. I. Intercontinental hotels: A strong SoLoMo strategy: We have decided to have a look to the strategy of Intercontinental because Nicolas Hauvespre, marketing director of Starwood hotel and resorts in North Europe advised to have a look at their strategy. They are quite well positioned compared to many of their competitors30. According to the study of L2 Think Tank, Digital IQ index of hotel 2013, Intercontinental hotel and resorts is ranked as the second best digital brand31. This is a very good performance for the English group. So why is their strategy successful? First of all, what are the different SoLoMo tools they are using? Intercontinental is offering an iPad application including a real concierge services, but also a mobile application, which you can use to find and book a hotel. There is also a kitchen cookbook iPad application where we can find very good tips about local chefs all around the world and finally few mobile applications locally adapted: two for the Intercontinental Paris, one for the one in Cannes and one for Montreal. Let’s study all these different devices: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 30!See!Annex!n°9:!Interview,!Nicolas!Hauvespre,!Marketing!Director!North!Europe!of!Starwood!Hotel!&! Resort! 31!See!annex!n°1:!L2!Think!Tank,!«!Digital!IQ!index!hotels!2013!»,!13!pages,!page!4.! 26! !
  27. 27. First thing about the Intercontinental Concierge Insider Guides iPad application is that it is not available on an Android device and this is a shame because today we have to know that IOS and Android are sharing the market even with the touchpads. This application allows the users to live a real experience by being connected to a virtual local concierge, who is advising him about what to do, where to go in the city he is staying. This service is available for more than 20 destinations, which is huge and needs a lot of content. The user can also have an access to an interactive map where he can get directions to local places thanks to the geo-location. On this app you can also book a room in the closest Intercontinental hotel with the geo-location possibility. What is missing to this application is obviously the fact that you cannot directly share your experience with the app on social media. This is a pity because Intercontinental misses the opportunity to get free advertising and not the worst type: to spread word-of-mouth, which works so well32. The second service that Intercontinental is offering is the Intercontinental Kitchen Cookbook iPad app. With this app, the user can have an access to the recipes of many recognized local chefs. It offers the experience for the user to get inspired by worldwide chefs and to have a luxury dinner at home. With this application the user can search a recipe by location, classify its favourite recipes, share recipes by email with friends or directly on the social networks. They can also directly book a room from this app. It is a very good idea to capitalize on cooking because it is also a good way for the hotel to promote the good quality of their restaurants all over the world. What is missing is a little platform where users could plug the pictures of their meals or little tips. This could create interactions between users and create a community of loyal users33. Locally adapted Intercontinental’s applications are a plus service for their consumer. The hotel’s marketing directors worked on these applications directly from their country to relay the more pertinent information for the users. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 32!Description!of!the!app!on!the!Apple!store!:!https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/conciergebinsiderb guides/id403370724?mt=8! ! 33!Description!of!the!app!on!the!Apple!store!:!https://itunes.apple.com/fr/app/intercontinentalbkitchenb cookbook/id453034407?mt=8!! ! 27! !
  28. 28. Let’s begin with the application of Intercontinental Montreal. We first have to admit that this application is very well made. When you open the app we ask you if you want to login with your Facebook account, if you do not agree you can just skip this step and enter the app. It is divided into three tabs: the first one “My hotel” where you can directly join the reception, or for housekeeping, order a meal with the room service, and a valet. The second one “My city” provides an access to a selection of restaurants, shops, nightclubs, etc. When you tap on a restaurant you could find a picture and a description of the place. Then there is a click-to-call, an access to Google maps, and the address. There is also the “Add to my itinerary” tab. Actually this app allows you to create your own itinerary to visit the best spots in the city. This is such a good idea. The third tab “My journey” allows the user to book the hotel, to check his bill and also to have a direct access to the hotel social networks (Facebook, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, and Twitter) in order to post a comment or message or to get information directly through the social media page or account34. Here is the opinion of Melissa Gonzalo, director of marketing in charge of the new networks at the Intercontinental Montreal (Interview by Frederic Gonzalo specialist in e-tourism)35: “The mobile app developed for Intercontinental Montreal allows the customers to have a tailor-made service access. We are trying to mix different contents, which are varying depending on the customers. On Facebook we are talking about Montreal current events, things that can affect local inhabitants and potential visitors, recipes or pictures that are evoking the Intercontinental experience, promotions, or special events in-hotel. I try to use Pinterest as a driver to our corporate signature “Do you live an Intercontinental life”. Our different boards are representing the aspects of Intercontinental life: luxury goods, arts, travels, and pictures of celebrities that are staying at the hotel.” To conclude with the Intercontinental Montreal case, we can say that it is one of the best SoLoMo strategies for the luxury hotel industry. We are now going to have a quick look to the mobile app of the Parisian Intercontinental hotel. The first one “Paris le grand” is an application where you can !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 34!See!Annex!n°10:!Screen!shots!of!Intercontinental!applications! 35!Frederic!Gonzalo’s!Blog,!«!Intercontinental!Montreal,!le!mobile!pivot!de!la!stratégie!»!23/04/2012,! fredericgonzalo.com! 28! !
  29. 29. visit the most beautiful and historical quarters of Paris thanks to the geo-location. A voice is talking to the user; it is a real audio guide. For some customers it is not a bad idea and it is free. The app also includes the story of the hotel, a map that drives you back to the hotel and all the information about the hotel36. The second one for the Intercontinental Avenue Marceau is more modern than the previous one, you can discover the hotel through pictures and video, and there is a direct access to Facebook and Twitter. The chef concierge Olivier Cambournac gives advice about shopping, museums, nightclubs, etc. You can get directions through the app and click-to-call. This application is really simple and intuitive; and it gathers all the SoLoMo process, which is a real added value for the customer37. To conclude this part about Intercontinental hotels, we can say that they implement two different strategies. The first one is the glocal aspect of SoLoMo and the second is the local one. Today they have worked a lot on the glocal aspect, and the applications are wonderfully built. Now they have to focus on the local aspect of SoLoMo because for the customer it is even more useful. They have to get inspired by what the Intercontinental Montreal local strategy to improve the customer’s experience. II. SoLoMo strategy of the W hotel – Strong and targeted W hotel is a global brand, which is part of the famous American luxury hotel group Starwood. According to the study of L2 Think Tank, Digital IQ index of hotel 2013, W hotel is ranked as the first best brand for its digital strategy38. The marketers worked a lot on this brand to make it the first digital hotel brand in the world. What is the concept of the W hotel? As Natan Schauder, marketing director of Starwood France said during an interview39: “W is the most dynamic brand of Starwood, which capitalizes on new tendencies and particularly on fashion, music and design.” Indeed that is what we are going to see, this brand has a strong positioning and it is targeting a specific audience: we will call them the wealthy Untethered consumer. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 36!See!Annex!n°10:!Screen!shots!of!Intercontinental!applications! 37!See!Annex!n°10:!Screen!shots!of!Intercontinental!applications! 38!See!annex!n°1:!L2!Think!Tank,!«!Digital!IQ!index!hotels!2013!»,!13!pages,!page!4! 39!See!Annex!n°11:!Interview,!Natan!Schauder,!Marketing!Director!France!of!Starwood!Hotel!&!Resort! 29! !
  30. 30. What does it mean? It is a wealthy consumer who travels a lot and attaches an importance to new technologies and medias. The brand has two different kinds of strategies: a locally adapted strategy and a global strategy. We are going to analyze their two strategies, which are integrating SoLoMo. According to Natan Schauder, the strategy of the W hotels has been more axed on the social point of SoLoMo “We’ve been more social than local and mobile. We’re not totally SoLoMo yet but we are working on it”. Let’s have a look to the global SoLoMo strategy of W. The question is: how to communicate globally for a brand that owns more than 50 hotels in more than 40 countries in the world? First they have a mobile website available in 8 languages including French, English, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese. On this mobile website, you can check which are the different hotels and are their offers; you can check the availabilities and book directly from this platform (you can geo-locate yourself to find the closest hotel), you can also book in a W hotel according to the guest rate of the hotel on TripAdvisor. If the rate is too low you can choose another one, which has a better rate. There is also a direct access to the following social networks’ pages of the brand: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Finally you can also have an access to SPG, the loyalty program of Starwood. The mobile website is really simple and easy to use, it is intuitive and the design totally respects the W codes (classy, black and pink). It is SoLoMo and works very well. As Mr. Hauvespre told us, we cannot copy and paste a website to build an application: “It is totally absurd to copy and paste a website to launch an app. Of course today applications are quite cheap and affordable. Everybody wants to have one. An application has to be unique and useful to the user. The number of downloads is not important to measure, what is important to measure is how many people use the application frequently. 500 000 person in the world are involved in the loyalty program of Starwood, SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest). This is a real success; we have to increase the demand on the other apps of the group.”40 We are going to have a look to the global mobile application of W hotel. It is available on IOS and Android. Nicolas Hauvespre explains: “The W application had a !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 40!See!Annex!n°9:!Interview,!Nicolas!Hauvespre,!Marketing!Director!North!Europe!of!Starwood!Hotel!&! Resort! 30! !
  31. 31. big success since its launch because it is really unique. We axed the application around music because it is one of the pillars and value of the hotel”. The mobile application is only available in English, we can accept this because it is a global language, but it might be a good idea to translate it like it has been done for the mobile website. The home page of the application reveals the different tabs of the application; it gives an overview of what the user can do with this application. The first one is “Music”. You can listen to the different W music compilations. It’s a real added value for the customer; he can experience the music atmosphere of W hotels through his smartphone. The second one is an m-shop offering various W branded products. This tab offers a really nice shopping experience without having to leave the app. It also corresponds to the involvement of the brand in fashion. The third tab, “Find and book” suggests to geo-locate yourself and to see which W hotel is the nearest to your position. It also indicates how far it is from your position (for example today I am at Metro Villiers in Paris, W Opera is at 3km from me). You can also check the weather and get the directions through Google Maps. The last tab is “Special offers”. It indicates what are the good deals of the moment and if there are some offers and discounts you can find it here41. There is something a bit disappointing in this application. You cannot share anything on social media directly from the application. This is a shame because I am sure that we could add a link to different social networks like Facebook or Twitter to let the user communicate spontaneously on his account. For example he could post the track he is listening: “Listening to @Whotel track list living room – Gorgeous!”; post about a product he bought: “Just bought nice glasses on the @Whotel app #Happiness”; or tell about their reservation: “Just booked my room @Whotel New York Downtown – Can’t wait!!”. People like to share their experience with their friends on the social networks. All the more it is free advertising for the brand. Marketers shouldn’t forget it. Let’s now see what solutions the brand is using to communicate more locally. We can notice that at the moment there is no SoLoMo in the local strategy of W hotels. They are capitalizing on their social media strategy. As Natan Schauder says “We are working a lot on the social networks. Each W hotel has its own Facebook page. We are creating original contents that correspond to the location of the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 41!See!Annex!n°12:!Screen!shots!of!W!hotel!application! 31! !
  32. 32. hotel. We are present on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. But we have to work on other platforms that are also working well like Foursquare, Pinterest and even Instagram. There are still some channels to experiment.42” The community managers in all the countries are working a lot on the problematic of content creation. And we can say that they are dealing well with it: at least one post per day on Facebook, those post are always including the likers to make them interact with the brand. It’s the same process on Twitter. Video creation, which is one of the most appreciated content online, is taking an important part of their strategy. We would say that the things to change would be to communicate more on current events that are happening in a specific city to increase the desire to travel in this city, because at the moment, community managers are only communicating on events that are happening in the hotel. To conclude with the W hotel case, we think that what would be the best and what would be well adapted to the new needs of the consumers would be to mix the global digital strategy and the local digital strategy, and maybe add a little more brand experience and service, because the wealthy Untethered consumer likes everything that is easy and needs an adapted service. Let’s now have a look to the next case study. III. Four Seasons – Locally adapted like their hotels: Nicolas Hauvespre advised to take a look at the digital strategy of Four Seasons “They made a great job when they changed their website. They worked a lot on the rewriting and on the merchandising, which gives a very good result. They wanted an immersive experience and they’ve done it well.”43 Four Seasons is a worldwide group of hotels based in Canada. They own the most prestigious hotels all over the world like the George V palace in Paris. All their hotels are designed to be perfectly locally adapted. Each city in the world has its !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 42!See!Annex!n°11:!Interview,!Natan!Schauder,!Marketing!Director!France!of!Starwood!Hotel!&!Resort! 43!See!Annex!n°9:!Interview,!Nicolas!Hauvespre,!Marketing!Director!North!Europe!of!Starwood!Hotel!&! Resort! 32! !
  33. 33. specificities and the Four Seasons hotels include this particularity to their architecture or design. As they wanted to stay coherent they adapted their “local attitude” to their digital strategy. So what are their SoLoMo tools to communicate? Like W hotels, Four Seasons is more insistent on So than on LoMo. In 2012 they have updated their website and they are capitalizing on this platform to take advantage from the social networks, which are directly linked to the website. Unfortunately they did not do the same thing with the mobile platforms. First of all, Four Seasons does not have a global mobile application and this is risky. Some Four Seasons hotels already have their own locally adapted dedicated application. These applications do not reflect the brand new image, identity and design that Four Seasons has built through its new website. Thus, those applications are not qualitative enough. They have a global application for touchpad’s. But now that the website has been optimized it does not look the same and this is incoherent. They really have to update it. But apart from those facts they are giving a particular attention to mobile devices. In the hotel they are lending some touchpads to their customer to make them live a digital experience in-hotel44. But is it enough? I am not totally convinced about it. Fours Seasons also developed a mobile website which was not updated either. You can only check the availabilities to book a room, that’s it. You will not find on the mobile platform the same experience available online, which is quite disturbing. They have to rework this because it is not the image that Four Seasons wants to show to their potential or actual customers. But we have chosen to take a look at its digital strategy because Four Seasons has an excellent digital planning on the social networks. First, take a look at the following graph “Four Seasons Digital Media Universe”45. We can say that it is huge. Four Seasons is using many different social media platforms that are redirecting to the website, which is also thought to redirect the visitors on the social media. There is a real work on the local aspects: each hotel has its own platforms adapted to their target. For example Four Seasons is the only international luxury hotel to !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 44!See!annex!n°3:!Four!Seasons,!«The%luxury%consumer%in%the%new%digital%world%then%and%now%»!2012,!9! pages,!page!8! 45!See!annex!n°3:!Four!Seasons,!«The%luxury%consumer%in%the%new%digital%world%then%and%now%»!2012,!9! pages,!page!6! 33! !
  34. 34. have a Weibo platform. As a reminder, Weibo is the most famous Chinese social network to target Chinese customers. Whereas Four Seasons is the only market player to use this Chinese social network, all its competitors have their Facebook page and Twitter account. They are present on location-based applications like Foursquare, which allows creating a challenge between the customers (i.e.: who is going to be the Mayor of this place?). They can receive Spa or dining credits thanks to this type of contest. One social platform is also very important because of the video content: YouTube. Four Seasons counts more than 500 videos, almost 1,500 followers and more than 1 million views on this platform46. This is amazing for a hotel brand. The social network strategy of Four Seasons is huge and very well made. There is a tiny problem in their strategy: the brand focused a lot on the website rework, which is great for the present. But it forgot to think of the future, and as the world is getting mobile they should focus more on this device. If they do not resolve this issue quite quickly, they could lose their legitimacy because we have to remember that the luxury hotel industry is a very competitive world. IV. “Amble”: the SoLoMo success of Louis Vuitton Louis Vuitton has been one of the first fashion luxury brands to launch a SoLoMo mobile application. Charlotte Politi, digital project manager at Heaven agency, advised to take a look at this case “Louis Vuitton has launch a collaborative city guide mobile app, which had a lot of success. You should try it, you will see how great it is!”.47 And that is what I did. Let’s get immerged in Louis Vuitton’s first mobile experience. Louis Vuitton has launched Amble in the beginning of year 2011. What is it exactly? An Amble is an itinerary that you can create yourself by following some different spots in the city. It is like a travel assistance application that allows documenting your entire journey with different kinds of features: text, photo, video and geo- !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 46!Youtube,!Four!Season’s!Youtube!chanel,!http://www.youtube.com/user/fourseasons! 47!See!Annex!n°13:!Interview,!Charlotte!Politti,!digital!project!manager!@Heaven!Agency! 34! !
  35. 35. location. You can record your own Amble, be a trendsetter or get inspired by someone else’s Amble and be a follower.48 It is a great concept; it is like a social network for the Louis Vuitton Amble users. Besides, to join the community you simply have to login with your Facebook account or with your email address. Then, the amble experience can get started. Let’s see what we can do with this application. First of all, this app is available anywhere in the world but focuses on the cities where Louis Vuitton has its city guides: Barcelona, Beirut, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Milan, Hong Kong, New York, Paris, Rome and Tokyo. Of course, these are fashion cities. We cannot forget that Louis Vuitton is a fashion brand. You need an Internet network (Wi-fi, 3G, 4G) to use the app, and the application is only available for iPhones and iPads. For a better experience, Louis Vuitton advises to use iPhone49. Currently, Amble is only available in English. We would advise Louis Vuitton to make at least one translation in Chinese because we all know that Chinese people are huge fans of the brand and we are sure that they would appreciate the Amble app experience. Let’s now see how the application works and what its multiple functionalities are. When you connect the Amble app you land on the home page, where you find the inspiration of the month, a celebrity’s Amble. In last April, Werner Schreyer (a fashion model) updated his Amble for Vienna. The first tab to visit is “Inspirations”. On this tab you can find all of the celebrities’ ambles. For instance, the itineraries of Sofia Coppola in Paris, Natalia Vodianova (Fashion Model) in Moscow, or Midnight Juggernauts (Electronic music band) in Sydney, are available in this tab. These celebrities are Louis Vuitton’s and Amble’s ambassadors at the same time. If you click on a spot they have plugged you can see their comments about the place and the pictures and videos they have taken. This creates a real exclusive content for the app. All the more we know that people love to follow celebrities’ tips (we notice this on Twitter) and they also aspire to be celebrities too. For Louis Vuitton it is a good way to advertise their store and to drive customers to the stores because all the Louis Vuitton ambassadors are including Louis Vuitton stores in each city. If you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 48!Video!presentation!of!Amble,!!«!Louis!Vuitton!Amble!on!iAd!»,! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVZynvBtJg4! ! 49!Louis!Vuitton!Amble’s!dedicated!website,!http://www.louisvuittonamble.com/! ! 35! !
  36. 36. don’t want to follow celebrities Amble you can also follow the tips of anonyms, which are quite great too. When you are following an Amble, you can use a traditional app, but you also have an access to the augmented reality experience and to let yourself guide by the application. Sometimes we don’t see the added value of augmented reality, but for a city guide I find it very useful it is an interesting device. The second tab “City Guide”, is the one where you can buy the Louis Vuitton city guides to improve the Amble experience. Of course it is a paying service, but it is quite bright from the brand to include a paying content in a free platform. The prices are between 8€ and 15€, which is quite cheap for a luxury brand city guide. It is a new way to experience the Louis Vuitton city guides because it is a gap from reality to virtual thanks to augmented reality. It strengthens the brand experience. The third tab, “Around Me” allows geo-locate yourself and looking around you what are all the spots that have been plugged by the Amblers. Thanks to the augmented reality you can get guided through the different spots. The fourth tab, “My Ambles” allows recording your own itinerary and writing your own comments and illustrating them with pictures, videos, or sounds. When recording your first Amble, you are officially a member of the Amble community: very chic! The brand has to verify the contents posted by Amblers, as those need to be worthy. They obviously do not care enough about this step, because some Ambler’s profiles point out some cheap tips, cheap places such as fast foods. You can also publish your itinerary on Facebook, Twitter or send it to a friend by email. This is the social level of the application. I have experienced Amble, and it is a very nice experience indeed. You can plug your favourite spots and send them to friends from anywhere in the world. The concept of sharing Ambles with friends is so nice and very interesting. Amble is a mobile platform where you can plug forever the places you enjoyed during your holidays. You will never forget the places you have visited. That is an amazing innovation50. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 50!See!Annex!n°14:!Screen!shots!of!Amble!application! 36! !
  37. 37. Louis Vuitton took the advantage to use Amble beyond a simple travel experience. Let’s have a look to this case study, Amble for the Louis Vuitton’s fashion show during Paris Fashion week. What was the idea? Use Amble to promote Louis Vuitton’s fashion show during Paris fashion week event and go beyond the show to live an immersive experience. Make the community feel unique and involved during this important event. How did they build the experience? Louis Vuitton selected six influencers (including Emily Weiss, a famous fashion blogger) and asked them to document the fashion week through the application. The influencers had to record their Amble during the event. This was a brilliant idea because this is creating free content for the brand. Louis Vuitton created a special dedicated website for this event and the Louis Vuitton’s fashion show was broadcasted in live on the website and on Louis Vuitton’s official Facebook fan page. A livetweet was also broadcasted, which transmitted all the comments of the influencers during and after the show. Why after the show? Because the influencers went backstage to interview celebrities, ask them how they enjoyed the show, etc. The interviews were also broadcasted in live on the two platforms. What were the results of the event? Without investing money in any traditional media, Louis Vuitton managed to recruit more than 800 000 fans on the Facebook page of the brand, and to place the Amble app in the top 5 travel applications on Apple Store. The operation also allowed the brand to target a new audience, which is usually away from the fashion stage. It was a good way to democratize the brand to a fashion lover audience.51 To conclude with the Amble strategy, we can say that it is a very bright idea from Louis Vuitton. We know that it is also important for them to democratize the brand because they have to make people dream with their products but they also have to conserve proximity with their potential customers and this app is a very good compromise between these two pillars. The SoLoMo is perfectly adapted, easy to use and brings a real added value to the customer. Is Amble the travel diary of the future? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 51!Video!of!Louis!Vuitton!Amble!Fashion!show!Case!study,! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEM21injOo8! ! 37! !
  38. 38. In this second part, we have noticed that Luxury hotel brands are trying to build SoLoMo strategies. But it is not an easy task and none of them are perfect, there is always something missing. It is not too late to improve the SoLoMo strategies of luxury hotel brands. They just have to find an interesting concept and develop it whilst complying with their brand value. We think that Amble is a very good example of what hotel brands have to do. Create an interactive experience and include emotions and a brand experience. Of course it needs to be reworked because it is really adapted to the fashion world, but we cannot deny that the luxury codes were perfectly respected by Louis Vuitton. The question we asked ourselves for this master thesis was: what is the impact of the SoLoMo on the strategies of the luxury hotel groups for the local markets? With the study we carried out through this second part, we can say that today luxury hotel brands are including SoLoMo in their strategy, but not at the local level. Some hotels are beginning to start adapting SoLoMo at the local level to improve the experience of travellers in the city, or in the hotel they are staying in. And we saw how interesting is what has been made to implement luxury hotel strategies like Intercontinental Montreal did at the local level. But for hotel brands it is difficult to build a locally adapted SoLoMo strategy. With social networks luxury hotel brands have managed to increase the brand experience for their customers, before, during and after their journey in the hotel. Now luxury hotel brands have to do the same thing with SoLoMo. In the following part you will find the concept we have built to improve the SoLoMo strategy for the luxury hotel brands at the local level. 38! !
  39. 39. PART 3: An innovative idea for the luxury hotel industry: when SoLoMo meets PASSBOOK. For this third and final part of my master thesis, I have decided to recommend a new type of strategy for luxury hotel brands: something that has never been seen before in this industry. When SoLoMo meets Passbook, an innovative solution for the luxury hotel industry, a locally adapted SoLoMo strategy, to deliver the customers a new brand experience. We will then illustrate our idea with a concrete case. I. A project adaptable to the luxury hotel industry What is PASSBOOK? Passbook is a particular app from the new system of Apple IOS 6 (a similar app is going to be developed soon for Android [the Pass wallet] and for Blackberry). It is a new tool and a new issue for the m-commerce. Passbook virtualizes your entire wallet: coupons, flight tickets, loyalty cards etc. How to add something to your Passbook? You can receive something on your Passbook from a mobile app, from a proposition in a emailing (for coupons as an example) and many other ways. To use the content of the Passbook we just need to scan the 2D code on the screen. That implies that the stores or companies need to be equipped with scanners. Passbook is also a new step toward geo-located marketing because of its geo-fencing technology: that means that if you are in a specific location, you can receive a special promotion on your Passbook for a store in the area you are located. Concerning tourism for instance, being near an airport could imply that Passbook is going to automatically send you a notification that would explain your plane ticket has been well added to your Passbook. Passbook is a real innovation and a revolution. The mobile consumer does not have the “Passbook reflex” yet. But there is no doubt about it: Passbook is part of our future way of mobile consumption. So what are the plus and the mines of Passbook for the luxury hotel industry? How are we going to create the Passbook reflex in this sector? How to build a SoLoMo 39! !
  40. 40. strategy locally adapted to luxury hotels including the use of Passbook? These are the questions we are going to answer during this explanation. The idea: Bring a new type of customer service to wealthy consumers with the use of Passbook. The idea: A mobile concierge service that delivers through a mobile app, tips adapted to the localization of the hotel (events, restaurants, museums, etc.). The customer can directly book an event with his smart phone or touchpad, a restaurant, a museum ticket and receive directly a pass on his phone on the app Passbook. This will allow him to avoid an enormous queue in the most popular museum of the city, to miss a reservation in the best restaurant of the city, or to miss the concert of a famous artist because he did not know about his presence during his stay. The application will also allow him to be guided from his position to the place of the reservation he made thanks to the geo-location process. There will also be a tab with the agenda of the user with all the events of his stay. On this agenda he will have the possibility to add content like text, photo, sound or video and share directly his travel with his friends on the social networks. The user could also receive geo-located push notifications encouraging him to visit what is happening nearby. The hotels are advancing money to their customer and the customers are paying back at the end of their stay. Why would it be a good thing for luxury customers? When people are travelling, for business or leisure, they like to get advice from local people. The concierge usually represents the person you are going to see to get those advices. Making the concierge go virtual would make things easier for the customer; the concierge becomes mobile and can help him wherever he is. What is also interesting is the brand experience customers will live. “Thanks to the hotel I was staying I discovered this or that place and it was gorgeous”, take a picture and post 40! !
  41. 41. it on the social network with an application. It is a real opportunity for the traveller to optimize his travel and to enjoy all the possibilities offered to him in the city he is staying in. Of course the content created will be for luxury customers and adapted to what they need and usually consume. The content creator will have to adapt his content to the customers. We also have to note that to have an access to Passbook you do not need any access to Internet. How to adapt the content to each hotel? This won’t be the easy step of the project. Indeed this is going to be an investment for the luxury hotel brands because they will have to hire at least one person per city to create content for the app and the social networks to offer the customers the newest events, and places to go. It has to be a professional community manager, with a strong formation. A global application locally adapted? Of course it will be easier and less messy to build an application for one luxury hotel brand. That is to say a worldwide application that would become local thanks to the geo-location process. When the user opens the application, he has to give access to his location data and to login with a loyalty account or reservation number to enter the app and to have an access to the local concierge advices and application configuration. It is not an easy process of application but it is possible thanks to the geo-location. That would be the best solution for a brand to give an exclusive and local content to the consumer through a global application that would regroup all the hotels. What would be the positive aspects for the luxury hotels? With the mobile data collection of their customers through this application, they will have a direct access to their consumption habits and for the next trip they could offer them something that would perfectly fit their expectations. 41! !
  42. 42. This type of offer is made to increase the customers’ loyalty, and their affection to the brand. People like to have a personal service and this new concierge offer linked to Passbook would make their trip easier. If the app users are sharing their experience on the social media this will create a very good online word-of-mouth and we know that today people are taking into account their family’s and friends’ advices to organize their trips. What would be the negative aspects for luxury hotels? Sometimes people prefer having a human interaction instead of a virtual reservation from a mobile device or from a computer. This is a negative point that we could turn into a positive aspect: first of all, this application would not affect the concierge’s jobs; it will also be an added value for them. If people want to call the concierge service to have an idea of what to do, the concierge can ask the customer if he wants a ticket and send it through the app on one’s Passbook. The other negative aspect might be the fact that all the companies are not equipped with scanners to scan the vouchers sent to Passbook yet. The solution might be to find some partners that are selling bulk-buying tickets and which ensure that there is a possibility to scan the voucher to have an access to the event. Or we can wait during a few years because one thing is sure; Passbook is going to become one of the most used and trendy applications. To conclude, we noticed that all the luxury hotel brands could be interested in this project, but to understand it better, we are going to illustrate it with the example of the W hotel. 42! !
  43. 43. II. Illustration of our idea with the W hotel brand: We thought that it would have been easier to illustrate our concept and idea with a concrete example to make you understand it better. So, we have decided to build a strong and locally adapted strategy for the W hotels, because that is what is really missing to the brand. We have already seen in the second part the study of the W hotel brand, what are its values, and its SoLoMo strategy. We know that today, it is the best digital luxury hotel brand in the world. But as the other hotel brands are going to improve their digital strategy too, W must not lower its guard yet. There are again many things to do and to improve. And that is what we are going to do with our strategy of optimization with Passbook. The idea: “The W hotel’s new application: W Mobtimizer” We are going to build a totally new and innovative project for the W brand. W hotel has a strong positioning toward culture and particularly toward music, design and fashion. W hotels are located in the hearts of the most cultural cities all over the world. To start the project we are going to select 13 big cities where we will develop the project. If the project works well we will extend it to the 53 cities where W hotels are located. The cities that have been selected are Los Angeles, New York, Montreal, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, London, Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul and St Petersburg. Through this application, the guests who are staying at the hotel are going to have the possibility to book cultural events and luxury cabs directly from their app. They will have the possibility to consult what are the events that are going to happen in the city they are staying in (concert, exhibitions, parties, fairs, sport…) thanks to the concierge advices. We are going to draw exclusive partnerships with two brands: b Live Nations, a worldwide group of cultural ticket sale b Über, a worldwide group of luxury cabs 43! !
  44. 44. The application will be available on IOS & Android. It will also be available on iPads and Android touchpads. What would these partnerships bring to the customer? They would get special offers for the Live Nations tickets and a special price on the luxury cabs offer (for example 10€ of credit for any drive). When customers are booking their tickets and/or cab on the application they will directly receive their tickets on Passbook. What does it bring to the customer? It will make his trip much easier. He would not miss any event he would have liked to attend. He would know everything about what is happening in the city he is staying in thanks to the concierge advices. He would not have to pull out his credit card anymore. He would pay for everything at the end of his journey. One thing is very important to add to: when you already have your ticket, you do not queue anymore, and you optimize your travel. This explains the name of the application: W Mobtimizer. Optimize your travel in the W hotel with your mobile device. The customer would also collect points on the loyalty program SPG each time he makes a reservation. What other services with the application? It will be a real brand experience because on the app there will be a tab “My dream Agenda” that is going to be updated each time the app user will book an activity. The user will have the possibility to illustrate it with text, pictures, video or sound. And finally he will have the possibility to post the content of his holiday’s agenda on social networks. And if the customer agrees, the content of his agenda would be added to a dedicated website. The customer becomes a member of the Mobtimiser community. 44! !
  45. 45. With geo-location the user can get the itinerary to be driven to his destination with the augmented reality process. If it is too far from his location, the application will ask him if he needs a Über cab with the price estimation. If he unlocks W Mobtimizer’s push notifications and to location data, he would receive push notifications depending on his location to inform him that he is close to an exhibition promoted by the app concierge. He will have access to a click-to-call the concierge to have the ticket on the Passbook or to order it directly from the application. The objectives of this innovative concept: b Offering an innovative service through a mobile application that corresponds exactly to the W values b Increasing the W community around storytelling: tell the story of you trip and illustrate it through an agenda. Create new interactions between customers. b Creating a new service of concierge that would help the customers outside the hotel. As it is mobile, the concierge service follows you anywhere. b Increasing the power of SoLoMo at the local level. b Gathering a new audience of customers: the wealthy Untethered consumers. 45! !
  46. 46. The application architecture: 46! !
  47. 47. How to promote the application? We know that there is no point to launch an application if you don’t promote it well. Our strategy is going to be turned toward the actual customers and the potential customers. We are going to promote the launch of the application through different canals: b An event in each hotel selected with ambassadors who are going to inaugurate it by plugging their “Dream Agenda” online b A PR strategy locally adapted to promote the launch of the application through a launch party b Web banners promoting the launch of the application on the W website b A social network contest to win a free night at the hotel to test the application To go further: Of course we are going to go further this concept with an added value for this Passbook project. I give you an appointment on June 13th, 2013 to discover it during the master thesis presentation. 47! !
  48. 48. CONCLUSION Through this work about SoLoMo and the luxury hotel industry, we have learned step by step that this sector still has many territories to explore in the digital era. Of course it is not too late for these companies. Some are more advanced than others, but today they are practically at the same level. First we have noticed that the luxury hotel industry is a highly competitive market with an increasing demand of the customers. They are asking for more modernity and more mobility with the same quality of services. These new customers are communicating online with their friends on the social media and are sensitive to word-of-mouth: they like their friends’ advices. These customers are also mobile and want to be aware of everything at any time on their mobile devices. Besides, there is a new tendency implying that luxury hotel marketers have to explore absolutely SoLoMo, as an association of social, local and mobile strategies. Indeed this association seems to be perfect to suggest a totally new type of service to the wealthy consumers. And this is what luxury hotel brands are trying to do through mobile applications including concierge services, itinerary advices and many other services through a real brand experience. But today almost all the luxury hotel brands are having this type of application. The only problem is that they are global applications and they are practically not locally adapted. And that is what brands should capitalize on. Giving some advices and helping their customers in their trips through local tips, which are linked to the luxury experience. This is what they are looking for. But how to improve the customer’s experience with a SoLoMo application locally adapted? We needed an added value to make the customer use it and become loyal to the brand. So we had the Passbook idea: no more waiting line, no more problems to look for an interesting exhibition or a good restaurant. The concierge app linked to Passbook is innovative and simple; it allows the customer to plan his journey and to know what he is going to do in the city he is staying in. All his tickets will be added to Passbook and he will have the possibility to pay for all the activities he did at the checkout. With the possibility to share advices and tips on the social media, it makes the user of this app becoming an actor, trendsetter and a good adviser to his relations. 48! !
  49. 49. This project might be a little futurist at the moment, because indeed too few people are using Passbook yet. But with the predictions of many mobile experts we certainly know that it is just about to become a huge tendency in the following years, and luxury hotel brands have to be aware of it. 49! !
  50. 50. Acknowledgement: This entire project would have been impossible to carry on without the precious help of some people, who did it with pleasure, motivation and passion for the communication field. The first person I would like to thank is Mrs. Albrycht, who helped me to find my problematic, who introduced me to Charlotte Polliti (in person) and to Chuck Martin (‘s book!), who were both very helpful. I would also like to specially thank Mrs. Marie Cazaux, my master thesis director for the precious time she spent to help me, for the person she introduced me to, and for her motivation in my project. At the same time I want to thank my friend, Benedicte Fages, who introduced Marie to me. I want to thank Natan Schauder and Nicolas Hauvespre, both marketing director of Starwood Hotel & Resorts for the time they gave me to answer all my questions. They helped me to understand better the issues the luxury hotel industry is facing. I would like to thank Charlotte Polliti, who advised me to take a look at Passbook. Without her the idea to add this principle to my strategy would have been more difficult. This was a nice and interesting chat moment. I also want to thank Raphael Journé, who answered to the questions I had to ask about mobile marketing and Passbook’s operating system. This was very helpful for the elaboration of this project. I would also like to thank the international class, for all the exchanges we had on our Facebook page during this period of work. It was fun and useful. Finally I wanted to give a special thank to Clémence Roquet Montégon, who took the time to read my work and helped me to correct my mistakes. I also want to thank Mediacom who sponsored my work by offering me the print of this master thesis. 50! !
  51. 51. Bibliography: BOOKS: b b Martin, Chuck, “The Third Screen, Marketing to your Customers in a world gone mobile”, Nicolas Brealey Publishing, Boston, 2011, 207 pages Christine BALAGUE and David FAYON, “Facebook, Twitter et les autres”, Pearson, France, 2012, 231 pages STUDIES: b b b b b b b Amadeus, “The future of the hotel Industry”, 2009, 23 pages Fours Seasons, “The luxury consumer in the new digital world: then and now”, 2012, 9 pages L2 Think Tank, “Digital IQ Index: Hotels”, 2013, 13 pages Precepta Xerfi Group, “L’Hôtellerie haut de gamme et de luxe en France”, 2008, 3 pages GSMA, “The mobile Economy 2013”, 2013, 99 pages L2 Think Tank, “Intelligence report Mobile” 2013, 10 pages The center for hospitality research, “Social media and the Hospitality Industry: Holding the tiger by the tail”, 2010, 16 pages WEBSITE ARTICLES : Social media & Hotel Industry b b b b b “The Future of hotel industry and Social Media”, www.mashable.com Debbie Miller’s blog, specialist of social media and hospitality industry, http://windmillnetworking.com/author/debbie-miller “The impact of social media in the travel and hospitality industry”, 26/06/2012, www.siliconrepublic.com “Social media for hotels, what’s the problem?”, 05/04/2012, www.hotelmarketing.com “Les bons usages des medias sociaux dans l’hotellerie restauration”, 25/09/2012, www.lhotellerie-restauration.fr! ! Social media b b ! “Top 20 social media statistics infographics”, www.graphicsms.com “Hotel site luxury links grows Customer base, Revenues on Facebook”, 18/08/2011, www.facebook.com! THE FUTURE OF THE HOTEL INDUSTRY // PERSPECTIVES b b b “All star example of real-time response”, 17/08/2012, www.revinate.com The Huffington Post – “Five predictions for the Future of the hotel Industry”, 10/09/2012, www.huffingtonpost.com/! “ ITH experience room, un hotel digne de Matrix!”, 14/02/2013, www.visionduluxehotelier.tictactu.fr 51! !