Marking a travel industry first, LiBi is a new eCommerce platform that partners consumer lifestyle brands with a network of hotels and resorts, enabling guests to buy products they get to see, try and interact with when away from home at the click of a button.
It’s about reaching consumers when they are in a different shopping mindset – what we see as ‘me time’ retail – when they get to spend time really experiencing and enjoying things while on a break, that they also might see a role for when back at home too. LiBi is the eCommerce and storytelling bridge to making that happen.
Recently launched, LiBi, which stands for ‘Love it, Buy It’, therefore serves to add extra value for hotels, guests and consumer brands by blending rich, immersive product experiences with this instant retail reality.
Ranging from mattresses and beds to art and design, food and drink to consumer tech, and even sports and wellbeing items, guests can choose to purchase practically every element of their stay.
For instance, guests could buy items that they like in their hotel room, their lodge or cabin, something they’ve spotted while they’re eating or drinking or visiting the spa, something that’s caught their eye whilst listening to music, or practising yoga. LiBi’s offering seeks to allow guests to purchase those objects that they’ve formed a connection with, creating long-lasting memories, and thereby helping to forge a bond between trip, product and brand.
Through QR code access, guests can browse the range of items they have encountered during a hotel stay. For example, if a guest has the best night’s sleep ever, they can simply scan the corresponding code on the mattress and purchase it online.
LiBi’s eCommerce platform means every hotel partner benefits from its own bespoke page that functions as a virtual boutique for all shoppable items. The commercial transactions flow through LiBi’s drop-ship home delivery model, meaning hotels and resorts won’t need to hold any inventory – the items will be delivered directly to the guests’ home without any requirements from the hospitality venue.
Initial brand partners to sign up include Hypnos (mattresses), Comfort Zone (spa brand), Pulseroll, Edmunds Cocktails, Cotivision, and Natural Spa Factory (spa and amenity), alongside other notable local artists and producers.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
We, the co-founders, have worked in travel retail for years and the pandemic gave us the time to think about the industry in a different way. Having worked within the airport and cruise industries we saw the synergies and similarities with guest behaviours in hotels and resorts. Guests in a holiday retail mindset shop and engage very differently than online and on the high street. With greater dwell time and a relaxed frame of mind, we found guests were open to discovering and exploring their surroundings with the added benefit of the endorsement of the hotel or resort.
In tough times, we know hotels want and need incremental income (especially if it doesn’t add to the daily workload), and brands want and need new outlets to build emotion-driven relationships with new customers.
My personal experience and frustration stemmed from staying in the most fantastic hotel and having had the perfect night’s sleep – but being unable to find out about the mattress or how to buy it subsequently shaped the customer journey. We wanted to solve a guest problem alongside adding value to the hotel itself, the product or the brand – and then, LiBi was born!
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
We set up the business at the beginning of the pandemic after the cruise and international travel markets had closed down. We identified the staycation trend but saw that hotels and resorts were also struggling. We wanted to offer a solution to hotels, resorts and their guests.
We wanted to provide incremental revenue without the hassle of setting up a physical or online retail channel and without the need for stock investment for hotels and resorts. We also wanted to achieve enhanced customer experience through storytelling and a simple frictionless mobile solution – accessed 24/7 via a QR code, bespoke to each hotel.
So, we are a pandemic birth going from zero to launch stage, that has listened and learned from conversations, needs and gaps, and from what it is that we think all parts of the partner and audience mix can get excited about. The eCommerce idea and platform has blended even more into the storytelling world as part of this, to make sure the brands we work with can come alive, share their values and backstories, and really engage with what matters to consumers as we come out of the toughest times.
What can we hope to see from LiBi in the future?
We are aiming to engage with a number of hotels, resorts and their guests in innovative, immersive ways by leveraging our strong brand partnerships across a range of categories and products. We want to tell brand stories and compliment hotels and resorts’ desire to create long-lasting memories for their valued guests.
LiBi has the ability to showcase brands in a number of experiential ways and to add depth to what each can offer new customers – visits to distilleries, wineries, mixology masterclasses, podcasts, and creative added value elements for any deal.
In addition, there is scope to incorporate more AI and VR technology as we grow and learn from the data and customer behaviour patterns. It’s a highly valuable learning opportunity – not just for LiBi’s own next phase developments, but for the level of insights we can offer to our hotel, resort and brand partners, too.
We see ourselves as a commercial partner not just in the deal-making and sales value, but in this sphere of intelligence sharing that hasn’t been gathered before.