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Club Med: Apps are key in consumer purchase cycle

All-inclusive resort giant Club Med has launched applications for Apple?s iPhone and iPad to help consumers discover, share and book vacations. 

The iPad application features an original 360-degree virtual tour of Club Med resorts. Club Med collaborated with Publicis Group?s Phonevalley to develop the app. 

Mobile Marketer staff reporter Rimma Kats interviewed Katie Riguzzi, public relations manager at Club Med, Miami, regarding the apps and Club Med?s overall mobile strategy. 

Here is what Ms. Riguzzi said.

What is the strategy behind the new apps?
Club Med?s strategy behind the new apps is to keep in-line with mainstream shoppers and mobile users ? to have a presence on these widely used devices and to maximize the potential of today?s market.

In 2012, there will be more people connecting to the Internet through mobile phones than through computers. We have seen that more people increasingly integrate mobile devices and applications in their day-to-day tasks and in their shopping habits.

As a new structural ecosystem, it is important for Club Med to launch into the mobile space now, and to integrate mobile as a key and consistent component in our global marketing strategy to better accommodate today?s consumers in the digital space. 

These apps also provide a new platform for Club Med to be able to showcase the product through innovative and interactive experiences.

The iPad application gives users a 360 virtual tour of the resort and can be experienced as though one is walking through the resort.  

These applications play a key role in the life cycle of today?s consumer. From learning about Club Med, researching the different resorts in over 30 countries worldwide and obtaining pricing information, to checking the weather before you pack and using the map of the resort in order to discover all of the amazing activities on-site. Then guests return home and share their vacation experiences and photos on social media.

Are you looking to develop apps for other platforms such as Android or BlackBerry?
Yes. The launch of the iPhone and iPad applications was the first step, with potentially all smartphones soon to follow.

It provided us with a great platform to launch these innovative apps that are unique in today?s travel market.

The comparison function helps potential guests choose between resorts based on their personal preferences, from luxury to golf and eco-friendly to winter sports. Guests are then able to share what they like with family and friends while also planning and booking a trip. 

The ?Click to Call? button quickly connects consumers to an experienced Club Med travel adviser for over the phone booking. For those that cannot make up their mind, the fun ?Shake and Escape? function allows you to shake your iPhone for destination ideas complete with sound.

We are aware that consumers using applications are not limited to iPhone and iPad users.  However, it is no secret that Apple has the largest reach and usage, so it was the perfect fit to launch apps such as these.
How are you getting the word out about the apps?
We have used all communication platforms in order to have a successful launch.
We are working to ensure that we are referenced on top positions on App Store by focusing on SEO through app descriptions and related keywords.
We are using Club Med?s existing assets to inform potential users about the new apps. 

We push the apps directly on the Club Med homepage ( and have created a dedicated Web page complete with a tutorial video, a share button and a link to download the apps. The video will also be used on social platforms.  Any link to the app will directly link to the download of it.

We communicated early on to our database by a dedicated eCRM as well as on our Facebook page to our fans and distributed a press release to the media this week. Moving forward, the apps will be promoted through all of our actions such as the use of the ?Available in the App Store? logo on our print ads.

The apps will also be promoted in resort, with free access on Wi-Fi, poster at reception.
Once the apps have been downloaded, we will continue to promote usage by manage the app updates and the new features releases frequency and to mention the mobile channel in every communication.

Both apps will serve as resources for information by providing access to promotions and product news.

We will also monitor user satisfaction through surveys after the app has been used a few times.

Facebook is also a significant support, so we will make it all the more easy for users to share the information on the apps on their Facebook page by having the share function throughout the entire app. We are hopeful that users will enjoy this innovative experience and share with their friends and colleagues. 

And, of course, we need to rely on internal support to communicate on the new apps, use them in our day-to-day activity (these are great tools especially for our sales team in the field) and to be knowledgeable and prepared when others inquire.
How does mobile go hand in hand with the company?s overall initiatives?
Club Med continues to be a leader and trend-setter in all-inclusive vacations and the travel and tourism industry. Mobile evolution is a key element in today?s world, and Club Med both acknowledges and values this.

The mobile applications will consistently be integrated into our overall marketing strategy and will serve as a key component in the purchasing cycle of today?s consumers.
Mobile apps and usage also allows us to gather knowledge and user experiences on this new channel, which will only become more important in the future. We're ahead of the customers habits, allowing us to be fully prepared once the buying habits change ? much like we saw between classic distribution and the Web.
We are a global brand that puts customer experience at the forefront. Launching these apps allow us to become part of their experience from the conception to the return home. Club Med US, along with Australia and Britain are pilot countries in launching the apps before the global roll out.