Experiential currency drives digital and social landscape – Luxury Daily – Multichannel
NEW YORK — Starwood Hotels and Resorts employs a localized infrastructure for all digital and social media to provide a 360-degree customer experience, according to an executive at the Luxury Interactive conference last week.
Starwood creates separate personalities for each of its hotel locations and equips them with personal social media sites, Web site pages and tabs in mobile applications. Unique brand identities are extremely important and must be recognizable across all three platforms.
“The new economy that drives the digital and social media landscape is based on experiential currency,” said Stephen Gates, senior creative director of global brand design for Starwood, New York.
“People want to have unique experiences and they want to pay to be part of and experience something that is not the same as what everyone else does,” he said.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts owns high-end hotels and resorts such as The Luxury Collection, St. Regis and Le Meridien, as well as the W, Westin and the Sheraton brands.
The three overall platforms that Starwood focuses on for all of its properties are Web sites, social media and mobile.
On the Web, the most important factor for brands to remember are the core values of the brand and highlighting them through the Web site design.
For example, Starwood’s Le Meridien hotel site is based around the brand’s core brand positioning: “Discovery starts with you.”
To embody that in digital form, a feature on http://www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien allows guests to choose photos they like, and drag and edit them to create a collage on the screen.
Based on the images that a consumer finds appealing, Le Meridien suggests personalized vacation destinations that she would specifically enjoy.
Le Meridien’s photo collage feature
Each Starwood property also has personal social media sites that are monitored 24/7.
From these sites, real employees can interact with current and potential guests to offer suggestions, follow-up on complaints and respond to questions in real-time.
In one extreme example from a Starwood property, someone tweeted a bomb threat to the hotel.
The social media employee saw the tweet within eight minutes and alerted hotel security, who then cleared the glass-encased front lobby.
Fourteen minutes later, a bomb went off across the street and no guests were harmed.