Integrated Social Application Enables Brands to Boost Customer Engagement and Forge Deeper Relationships By Bringing Customer Conversations About Products and Services Into Social Media Campaigns

Westin Hotels & Resorts First to Implement Innovative Joint Offering

Bazaarvoice, a market leader in bringing the voice of the customer to the centre of business strategy for more than 700 global clients, and Buddy Media, the social enterprise software of choice for eight of the world’s top ten global advertisers, today announced a partnership to help brands integrate online customer conversations in their social media campaigns. Westin Hotels & Resorts is the first to use the joint offering on facebook.com/westin, which will be showcased at the upcoming Social Media Week on Feb. 13-17, 2012.

Launching today, “What’s Popular Right Now” is the first social application, or “sapplet,” to result from the partnership, allowing companies to seamlessly integrate Bazaarvoice customer-generated content into their Buddy Media-powered brand pages and social media campaigns. Brands first define the category of products or services to feature in their campaigns. The most popular products or services – based on customer conversations such as ratings, reviews, comments and shares – are then promoted within the sapplet, encouraging consumers to scroll through and interact with the brand’s Bazaarvoice content and share their experiences with their friends and across their online networks. In addition, fans clicking through the sapplet are directed to the specific brand destinations, increasing traffic to the brand site.

“Building on Starwood’s successful launch of ratings and reviews, we’re expanding the programme to our social channels like facebook.com/westin,” said Clay Cowan, Vice President, Digital for, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “Individually, the Bazaarvoice and Buddy Media products have been powerful tools, and combining these services was an organic fit for Starwood’s guest engagement strategy.”

“For six years, Bazaarvoice has been helping brands bring the voices of their customers into the heart of their business,” said Mike Svatek, Chief Strategy officer at Bazaarvoice. “Our solution enables our clients to create authentic conversations with their consumers, scale the reach of those conversations throughout the purchase path, and uncover and act on valuable insights. As brands strive to make the most of social networks, we’re enthusiastic to partner with Buddy Media to generate greater product awareness on social networks, deeper engagement with fans and followers, and increased conversions from social media.”

“The Buddy Media social marketing suite is built specifically for brands to power connections with their customers and fans. In this case, the capabilities of Buddy Media and Bazaarvoice aligned perfectly to build a unique product,” said Michael Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media. “This solution helps brands like Westin build their business and provide a better experience for their online communities. Creating the ability for people to communicate with each other at scale is what social media is all about.”

About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1,071 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. The company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.

About Buddy Media
Buddy Media is the social enterprise software of choice for eight of the world's top ten global advertisers, empowering them to build and maintain relationships with their consumers in a connections-based world. The Buddy Media social marketing suite helps brands build powerful connections globally with its scalable, secure architecture and data-driven customer insights from initial point of contact through point of purchase. Buddy Media is the most award winning social enterprise software company, winning the prestigious TechCrunch “Crunchie” Award for Best Enterprise application, named to the Advertising Age 2011 "Digital A-list," and CEO and Founder Michael Lazerow was selected as 2011 New York Entrepreneur of the Year® by Ernst and Young. For more information, visit http://www.buddymedia.com.

About Bazaarvoice
Bazaarvoice’s Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions have powered more than 280 billion customer conversations on brand web sites like John Lewis, Blue Shield of California, Costco, Dell, Macy’s, P&G, Panasonic, QVC, and USAA. The company connects organisations to their influencers through a unique network that reaches hundreds of millions of consumers around the globe, enabling authentic customer-powered marketing. Through syndication, analytics, partnerships, and consulting, Bazaarvoice brings the voice of the customer to the centre of their clients’ business strategy, proving “social” can drive measured revenue growth and cost savings for manufacturing, retail, travel, and financial services companies. Headquartered in Austin, the company has offices in Amsterdam, London, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, and Sydney. For more information and access to client success stories, visit www.bazaarvoice.co.uk, read the blog at www.bazaarvoice.com/blog, and follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bazaarvoice.

Published on: 4:36PM on 1st February 2012