Suiteness has a unique value proposition — offering customers access to premier suites with amenities such as private entrances, personal butlers and private pools. Naturally, these types of lodgings don’t come cheap, which is one reason it’s important for Suiteness to provide customers with simple ways to finance their purchases. The company teamed up with Affirm, a financial services company that enables retailers to offer customers a variety of payment plans, to make it a reality.
After implementing Affirm, Suiteness experienced a 41% uptick in new, younger customers, and more engagement on its mobile app.
“There is a big change happening to online hotel bookings. Before, people would enter a credit card and it would get authorized, but not charged; and maybe they would pay a deposit,” said Kyle Killion, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Suiteness in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “But now the industry is moving towards paying for your stay before your booking.”
Yet some customers are still used to putting in a deposit for a room and paying in increments, which is “exactly what Affirm allows us to do,” Killion noted.
When searching for a finance provider, Killion said the most important criteria was how easy it was for the customer to check out. Suiteness also wanted the implementation process to be just as easy on their end. (The company was already using Stripe to accept payments.)
“The checkout process on Affirm is just as easy as checking out with a credit card,” said Killion. “And implementing Affirm was just as easy as implementing Stripe.”
Because people often book trips months in advance, Killion said he believed that the option of financing would be a good fit for Suiteness. With Affirm, the company began offering payment options over three, six and 12 months, which aligned with the goal of making sure all payments were collected before the customer arrived at his or her destination.
“We always want to say yes to our customers. Affirm makes it simple for us to say yes to customers who want to pay over time,” Killion added.
Payment Plans Attract Young Mobile Users
In addition to offering payment plans, Suiteness began offering 0% interest on the three-month option “because the price point was low.” That capability was successful enough that Suiteness began testing a 0% APR promotion to all customers who chose to check out with Affirm. These offerings also provided some surprising customer demographics data. “There are two unique attributes for Affirm customers,” said Killion. “They skew younger and they skew mobile.”
Since launching the payment plan, Suiteness has experienced a 41% boost in 18- to 24-year-old customers choosing to check out with Affirm versus other payment options. This is a significant result for the company given the price of the suites. Drawing in a younger customer base helps Suiteness grow the business.
Suiteness also experienced an increase in engagement on mobile devices — 57% of Affirm users check out on mobile devices, compared to 28% of users using other payment options. This is due to the fact that the regular mobile checkout process requires five pieces of information. “It’s much easier to check out on mobile with Affirm,” Killion confirmed.
Aside from providing customers with a seamless and easy-to-navigate payment process, Suiteness also gained a better understanding of its customer base that helps the company make better business decisions.
“What’s interesting for us is that we’re getting better financial demographic data than we are through other channels like credit cards,” said Killion. “It does help us with our marketing profiles.”