A Marriott International executive at Forrester’s CXNYC 2016 said that the proliferation of transaction-based rewards programs means that brands must understand members’ triggers and interests in order to connect with them more fully, showcasing another opportunity for mobile’s precision.
During the session, “Getting Customer Understanding Right,” the executive discussed Marriott’s upcoming merger with Starwood Hotels and Resorts, as well as the consolidation’s implications for both hospitality companies’ popular loyalty programs. He also deemed Marriott’s ongoing dedication to improve its rewards program – which has a frequently used mobile application – with various digital initiatives as imperative in today’s sector, due to the thickening competition.
“Customers have choices like Airbnb or a plethora of choices on Travelocity and other [online travel agencies],” said Thom Kozik, vice president of loyalty at Marriott International. “We have to show our appreciation and loyalty to them.
“When I walked into Marriott [for the first time], I was blown away from the expertise in email marketing.”
Loyalty in return
Mr. Kozik posited that marketers must understand cultural differences relating to their reward programs in various regions. For example, rewards programs are perceived differently by customers in Asia than they are in the United States.
Additionally, brands with smaller physical footprints must try harder to garner new loyalty members, while those with larger distribution footprints must focus on promoting consumers’ early entry into memberships.
Marketers must consider how their loyalty programs offer benefits to customers, especially since individuals are only one click away from a brand’s competitors in today’s marketplace.
However, the ubiquity of mobile enables consumers to access their loyalty accounts more easily, meaning that brands must be quick to study customer behaviors and serve them more relevant rewards and experiences.