When it comes to personalisation, it pays to be headless, according to Chris Cocca, vice president of digital experience at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.
Speaking at Salesforce Connections 2019 in Chicago Tuesday, Cocca said the brand’s success in driving better digital engagement with its guests was down to a disciplined marketing approach that has a single content source for all Four Seasons’ channels, which he called its “headless CMS”.
Developed internally, Cocca said the CMS is designed specifically to be independent of any front-end—such as website, app, or social media—allowing all “headless content” stored in it to be customised for any channel.
“That single content source stores everything you need for any personalised conversation,” which, Cocca told delegates, is the driving force behind Four Seasons’ digital transformation strategy.
The company has rebuilt its website, will relaunch its mobile app in August, and launched a consumer chat platform two years ago, allowing guests to interact with the hotel brand through a variety of messaging apps. To date, 6 million messages have been sent back and forth.
“There’s value in that conversation,” Cocca said. “As much as personalisation is about the right content, for the right person, at the right time, there’s this element of having a conversation. Asking the right question, at the right time, can get more engagement, be more personal and build that connection any luxury brand is looking for.”
Cocca said effective personalisation at scale require marketing content that is consistent across all platforms, and that as well as content being single sourced, there must be one dataset that powers all channels. “We did a lot of A/B testing around personalisation, but we found if you only do it within one channel, all the knowledge stays in that channel,” he said.
Having an integrated data stack that feeds all the brand’s marketing touchpoints has allowed Four Seasons to make much better use of its content, Cocca said, pointing to the brand’s conversation ‘prompts’ with which it engages guests.
“It nudges them to take action,” he said. “We shape the conversation into a relevant area without being creepy, so we engage people rather than just give them something to look at.”
The interactions let Four Seasons’ build a deeper picture of a consumer’s behaviours and preferences, which in turn allows the brand to offer a more personalised service.