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Digital acceleration –finally– benefiting hoteliers in the luxury industry

With its real time luxury experience technology, has Immidia found the key to instant guest satisfaction? Its Chairman Anthony Brisacq and CEO Christophe Chauvin think so and told us more about their concept, from its inception to its latest features.

The world is speeding up every day and luxury, previously synonymous with calm and serenity, is no exception to the rule. The models created by today's top fashion designers are now available just a few days after parading on the runway of international fashion shows, turning the traditional pace of the seasons upside down. Demand is even more pressing in the experiential luxury sector. More than ever, the philosophy "I want everything and I want it now" means professionals are having to react instantly anytime while, naturally, providing ultimate quality. Hotel and luxury service professionals have been familiar with this phenomenon for a long time. As the digital trend has accelerated it at a phenomenal rate, some of the most efficient responses may also be found in the digital sphere. Immidia, an innovative startup dedicated to instant luxury experiences, is an example of how this is possible.

Your app offers to charter a manned yacht in a fraction of a second, what inspired you this idea?

The digital revolution is spectacularly visible in this field. If you or your clients have ever chartered a luxury yacht, you probably know it can be a complex affair, involving finding the right provider, checking their fleet, issuing a booking request and waiting for the boat's availability –along with that of the captain and crew– to be confirmed, signing the charter agreement, providing a down payment, in addition to transfers, port parking, on-board food and insurance. In short, a long run with numerous hurdles, and that's incompatible with today's expectations of the wealthy and ultra-connected clientele. That's why Immidia designed a service guaranteeing every booking in real time. Our proprietary algorithm is capable of determining the list of available yachts, captains and crews, calculating the charter price, including additional services such as passenger transfer by limousine or luxury catering, and providing an immediate response that the customer confirms in a single click.

Then logically you thought: why not a luxury car, prestigious villa or private jet?

The secret of instant service resides in the fusion of technological performance –the reliability of a powerful algorithm– and the perfect knowledge of the trade. Immidia was founded by a yachting expert who invented an original model, which we called "disruptive" 10 years ago -a rather original coin phrase back then. Once digitized, this model is naturally accessible worldwide. It is so fluid that it also applies to the related services already provided by Immidia, such as cars, villas and jets. And the list keeps expanding, which is what makes the company so original.

How to be sure demand is always satisfied?

Providing a real time response isn't enough. It also has to be positive. That means offering customers an increasingly large choice, while guaranteeing reliable and sustained quality. Disappointing a customer almost always means losing them. But satisfying them in one click ensures their lasting loyalty. For a start up like Immidia, the business model is based on building an extensive network of independent professionals, who come together to form a galaxy of potentially available experts and products. The founders of Immidia rapidly focused on the level of expertise and quality they expect from their licensees. To achieve this, they simply recruited seasoned professionals from the various relevant business sectors. You cannot invent know-how.

What is your strategy in terms of customer experience?

With the proliferation of digital information and distribution channels, the customer journey is marked with moments of truth, well known to marketers, i.e. decisive moments leading, if all goes well, to the final act of purchase. To ensure the user experience is totally satisfactory, the seller must truly master these moments of truth. Luxury industry leaders have understood this perfectly. Their distribution is mostly selective, their environments are carefully staged and training is continuous and true to the house credo. Immidia relies on this rule. We have invested massively in an international guest relation service, available 24/24 and 7/7, to accompany the customer journey throughout the booking stage and luxury experience itself. Like Apple and Guerlain, Immidia has also chosen to adopt a selective distribution network. Although it is oriented towards the final consumer, the Immidia system is exclusively deployed through a network of hand-picked professional partners, upholding the culture and methods associated with luxury services: five-star hoteliers, high-end travel consulting agents and private concierge services.

You said digital acceleration would unleash new opportunities in the luxury hotel industry, how?

Although the digital revolution was formerly seen as a threat to the luxury hotel, leisure and service industry in general, it now offers professionals genuine development potential. By making the exponential and continuous sharing of skills, quality and opportunities possible on a win-win basis, a pure player such as Immidia -avilable as a white label- turns these instant luxury experiences into genuine added value for hotel guests that can be capitalized on at the speed of light through one's sales strategy or CRM tools.

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