Arnaud Champenois, SVP Global Brand and Marketing at Belmond, believes that social media is not just an effective marketing platform, but also a powerful tool for tailoring the customer experience.
Champenois spoke to Hot Topics about how the growing use of technology and social to create bespoke experiences is allowing the luxury hotel and travel group to engage guests and build revenue.
Traditional Marketing for Traditional Values
Belmond’s core customer base is mostly American and British, wealthy, and on average 45 years old. Accordingly, Belmond’s CRM (customer relationship management) is as much offline as it is online, leading to the creation of traditional marketing tactics such as events and experiences for guests staying at their hotels.
Feeling the Digital Ecosystem Effect
While some guests may be uninterested in social media, technology is extremely important for the company.
“Over the past few years we have completely changed our digital ecosystem to make it much more customer-friendly,” Champenois says.
Social plays a key role in Belmond’s marketing communications, and Champenois singles out Instagram as one of the most effective platforms.
“I would say that Instagram is the Lonely Planet of today because people are really looking for recommendations, tips and tricks to connect with local communities,” he says. “Instagram strategy is extremely important for us.”
A Digital Shift That’s Revenue-Driven
Champenois concurs that when a strategy is deemed important from a commercial standpoint, it must ultimately have a positive impact on the bottom line.
“I think over the past years, we have had to adapt the entire company to this new digital ecosystem and to really make sure that people understand social and digital media are driving revenue,” Champenois says.
This has led to a shift in the way the group operates, particularly for those on the ground at its hotels, with general managers “looking at what’s happening online, especially when guests are on site”, engaging with them and creating a “personal connection”.
Delivering Personalised Service and Content
Digital’s rising status at Belmond has led to a number of online innovations.
“For instance in July, we launched ‘My Belmond’ on our website,” Champenois says.
The service links customers with the brand, to connect them with the content they want to receive. Champenois admits that this tailoring of guest experiences was once a challenge for Belmond and its competitors, “but now I actually think it’s a strength of the market – we can really send the content clients want from us”.
Better Belmond Moments
Belmond has also strengthened its relationships with customers via ‘Belmond Moments’, an initiative that sees guests receive six experiences between their arrival to check-out, “with a very strong focus on the ‘good morning experience’”.
“We always try to create incredible moments for the customer journey,” Champenois says.
This post is part of a Criteo-sponsored video thought leadership series with Hot Topics.ht. Featured content highlights retail marketing, digital, and ecommerce executives as they explore the emerging tools and techniques used by both luxury and high street brands to drive growth in the form of retention and acquisition of customers.