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An app for that happy day

The Peninsula Wedding Experience app is the latest addition to The Peninsula’s customer relations management (CRM) tools for communicating with clients of its wedding planning service, which makes up 40% of its business.

The app is designed by digital agency Designercity and will be used on 10 Windows tablets and two SUR40 tables by 10 sales staff members at the hotel. It was fully launched early this year, with pilot schemes and a soft launch in 2013.

PeninsulaAppHome

Each customer is given a personal account, where all their decisions are made, for example, the cost analysis based on the number of guests and the visual appearance of the ball room as reflected in photos they select from a photo gallery.

The data can also be copied onto a USB for the client to take home to look at as well.

A highlight of the app is a 3D floor plan function where clients can see how the venue will look from different angles and in realistic three-dimensional photographs.

PeninsulaWedding3Dfloorplan PeninsulaApp3DFloorPlan

Furniture such as tables and chairs, and pianos can be added to the floor plan with table cloths, chair covers and flowers customisable in terms of colours.

Charlie Keung, assistant director of catering, said: “When we help customers plan their weddings, the biggest challenge is helping them visualise what they will see on the day.

“Every customer has a dream wedding in mind. A lot of the time, they have to wait until the day of the wedding before they will know whether it can come true.”

PeninsulaAppTable

She adds the ability of the app shows hundreds of photos of the venue with different set-ups and the 3D floor plan helps minimise the gap between customer expectations of the wedding and what it actually looks like on the day, a gap that can be the source of customer complaints.

“They can see the exact set-up of their wedding so they would not be disappointed or surprised. This confidence that we can give customers is a big marketing tool for us,” Keung said.

“If they are happy, they would refer our service to their friends or give us repeat business. This investment in the technology will help us find other clients for wedding planning or other types of event planning.”

The 3D floor plan was built by photographers painstakingly taking high-resolution 2D photographs of each section of the hotel’s venues and mapping them into 3D images.

PeninsulaWedding2

“We had to balance the performance of the 3D floor plans and the user experience because too many three-dimensional graphics are not easily grasped by the salespeople and the general user. This balancing act had to be incorporated into the design,” said Allen Ho, director of strategic business at Designercity.

While it’s typically the sales staff using the app on a Windows 8 tablet on the go, the conversation with the client and other staff members such as chefs and caterers can be moved into a meeting room with a Windows 8 SUR40 table where the app is operated from a touch-screen surface on the table.

Joelle Woo, director of marketing and operations at Microsoft, said: “The SUR40 table gives customers a chance to interact with the entire team of staff members involved in the wedding and the small tablet gives sales staff the mobility to accompany the customer while showing them the physical venue. It increases the customer engagement.”

The tablet and SUR40 table are in sync with images and information stored in a content management system that can be updated in a centralised way, according to Ho.

PeninsulaWeddingRoom

Apart from wedding planning services, the app also contains information and photos about other venues at the hotel, such as corporate meeting rooms and party rooms.

Keung said: “This allows our sales staff to up-sell other revenue generators such as party rooms for holding a party before or after the wedding.

“We can also show photographs of rooms to couples hoping to book rooms for their overseas guests without having to run and get a key to the suite, or be unable to show the suite to the customer if it is occupied.”

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