Für Marriott beantwortete Elina Zois, Director, CRM and Loyalty Europe / Marriott Hotels International den Fragebogen zum Thema Kundenbindungsprogramme.
Top hotel: What were the original reasons for launching a customer loyalty program?
Elina Zois: The purpose of Marriott Rewards is to reward our valued guests for their on-going loyalty to our portfolio of hotel brands. Our aim is to create a value added proposition whereby our members enjoy exclusive benefits whenever they engage with us.
Top hotel: There are an increasing number of hotel customer loyalty programs. Do you see those as competitors? Why/in what respect?
Elina Zois: Naturally there are competitors present in our industry that are also vying for market share. That said, we have clear vision and direction that we stand behind, with our overarching objective of becoming Europe’s top hotel loyalty program.
Top hotel: How does Marriott Rewards differ from other hotel loyalty programs?
Elina Zois: Marriott Rewards, just like Marriott International, is innovative and forward thinking. We constantly strive to identify new opportunities to reward our members and personalize their travel experience.
Top hotel: To what extent have you seen effects on guest (booking) behavior, revenue and number of guests since the launch of the customer loyalty program?
Elina Zois: The Marriott Rewards loyalty program serves as an excellent tool to further educate our community on the breadth and depth of the Marriott brand portfolio while also allowing us to engage our members in relevant communications at opportune times. As such, Marriott Rewards has proven to be an influential and successful traffic/revenue driver for our hotels. In Europe, where the program is very much still in its developmental stages, the positive impacts on consumer behavior are showing favorable increases year over year. For example in 2015 we were one of the sponsors of the BWM International Open which gave us the opportunity to reach existing and prospective members and educate them on the benefits of Marriott Rewards and drive new membership.
Top hotel: What are the program’s benefits for your members/guests?
• Redeem points at over 4,000 hotels in over 75 countries
• Earn Miles: Collect points when staying at our hotels which can be converted into air miles with a variety of airlines around the world
• Skip Queue: Use our Marriott Rewards app to skip the line when checking in and out of our hotels
• Instant Gifts: Redeem points after only one stay with Marriott for use on a great range of gifts
• Just How You Like It: We remember your preferences so you’ll feel more at home at our hotels
• Free Wi-Fi: Book directly through marriott.com and you will receive free in-room Wi-Fi throughout your stay
Top hotel: In your opinion, why is a customer loyalty program essential today?
Elina Zois: Nowadays consumers are faced with a plethora of choices and in competing for their business we need to create a value added proposition while personalizing their experience. A loyalty program offers us the ability to do just that. A properly executed loyalty program will be able to successfully drive consumer behavior and preference to our brand.
Top hotel: What criteria do you base the choice of cooperation partners on?
Elina Zois: When working with partners we look for companies and programmes that strive to give their customers the same levels of service and quality that we do at Marriott. We also want to work with partners who can enable us to offer our guests enriched benefits, for example many Marriott Rewards members convert their points into air miles through our partnerships with some of the world’s top airlines. In July we also announced a first-of-its-kind global partnership with Universal Music Group which provides our members with benefits including special ticket offers, exclusive downloads, artist merchandise and, for the first time, Marriott Rewards members will also have the opportunity to attend UMG-sponsored events and after parties at premiere music industry events and festivals such as The Grammy Awards, SXSW, The ACMs, Billboard Music Awards, CMA Fest, MTV Video Music Awards and CMA Awards.
Top hotel: Are there any plans for enhancements in the near future?
Elina Zois: We are constantly looking to innovate our program to not only match travelers’ expectations and needs but also to surpass them. We have a forward thinking mentality and look to differentiate ourselves by being front-runners in the loyalty space.
Top hotel: How do you think the importance of customer loyalty programs will develop over the next ten years? What features could be added and what additional value could these create?
Elina Zois: Loyalty programs will continue to grow over the next ten years. As they become more inherent to our day-to-day life, the more offerings they will provide outside of their brand’s core products. The loyalty programs will become more experiential and they will better resonate with the developing core audience.
Top hotel: What do your guests think of your customer loyalty program?
Elina Zois: Our guests enjoy our loyalty program and the benefits that they have access to from the instance they join such as Free Wi-Fi in room, the ability to skip the line upon checking-in and out of our hotels etc. They also strive to reach the next membership level available to enrich the benefits they receive, such as access to our Lounge or breakfast for two etc. More so, our guests enjoy the personalized service they receive in our hotels, and in our communications.
Top hotel: What cost is involved in the launch and maintenance/operation of a customer loyalty program?
Elina Zois: A huge investment is required for the implementation and maintenance of a loyalty program, from resources to the technical infrastructure required to seamlessly support it through the organization.