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Hotel chains deliver instant gratification, propel sales with mobile promotions

Wyndham Hotel Group and Choice Hotels are two of the major hospitality marketers gearing up to drive sales this summer via loyalty program-based promotions on mobile, suggesting that consumers are seeking instant gratification when offering a hotel brand continued business.

Wyndham is aiming to ramp up awareness of its updated Wyndham Rewards loyalty program by offering members the chance to receive 3,000 bonus points if they stay at a branded property through Sept. 7, while Choice Hotels is enabling customers to earn a $50 gift card if they take two separate trips this summer and book accommodations via its mobile application or online. These strategies point to the increased focus on loyalty that hotel marketers are spreading across all digital channels, especially mobile.

“Rewards-enabled promotions are important because they help keep members excited about the program and drive engagement, which in turn helps drive loyalty,” said Noah Brodsky, vice president of worldwide loyalty and engagement, Wyndham Hotel Group, Parsippany, NJ. “To help kick-off our new program, we’ve launched a new summer promotion where members earn 3,000 points after just one qualified stay.

“It’s an incredibly rich offer that immediately allows members to redeem for a ‘Go Fast’ award night, right out of the gate.”

Showcasing rewards via mobile
Wyndham Hotel Group is rolling out an extensive marketing campaign to supplement its loyalty program, targeting digital assets as well as social media to ensure the widest possible consumer outreach. The brand has hired Game of Thrones actor Kristofer Hivju to take on the persona of the colorful “Wyndham Rewards Wyzard,” who magically appears in tufts of blue smoke to grant customers rewards during their travels.

The Wyzard will be appearing in a slew of television advertisements, in addition to radio, digital video and social media content. Having a designated fictional spokesperson could be a smart move for the brand, and displays its commitment to pour additional resources into its loyalty program.

Wyndham Hotels is also celebrating the revamping of its mobile loyalty program by offering members a flat redemption rate for free hotel stays alongside an updated version of its mobile application, suggesting that hotel brands must offer more readily accessible rewards to drive commerce (see story).

“Frequent travelers are diehard loyalists and tend to stay at the same hotel company more than half their days on the road,” said Gary Schwartz, president and CEO, Impact Mobile, New York. “They value loyalty for white-glove treatment rather than points.

“However, for the non-frequent travelers online Travel Agents (OTAs), meta-search aggregators and the share economy have changed the way consumers find their accommodation.”

The brand’s summer promotion allows rewards members to receive 3,000 bonus points after completing one qualified stay at a Wyndham property from now through Sept. 7.

“If you look at the majority of loyalty programs today, there’s a growing trend of point devaluation and over complication,” Wyndham’s Mr. Brodsky said. “The new Wyndham Rewards is the opposite.

“It’s simple to understand, easy to use and dollar for dollar, lets members earn more and redeem for less than any other program in the industry,” he said. “Just 15,000 points gets you a free night at any of over 7,500 hotels globally, while every qualified stay earns a minimum of 1,000 points.

“No other program can say that and we think it’s a game changer for the space.”

Instant gratification rewards
Meanwhile, Choice Hotels is bolstering interest in its loyalty platform by offering consumers enough points to receive a $50 gift card if they stay at a participating property on two separate occasions this summer.

If a Choice Privileges member books two stays between May 7 and August 19, he or she will be eligible to earn a gift card to one of many participating retailers and establishments, including Amazon, Macy’s, Olive Garden and Starbucks.

Interested consumers can visit before checking out to register for the promotion. They may then book their stays via the mobile app, online site or 1-800 telephone number.

Members will likely appreciate the ability to receive a gift card to one of the many popular participating retail or dining locations. The instant gratification aspect of the promotion may also fuel more consumers to become rewards members and use a Choice Hotel property over another competitor.

“For these non-frequent travelers, instant access to deals on their phones can drive impulse purchases,” Impact Mobile’s Mr. Schwartz said. “For this demographic a ‘Wyndham Wizard’ appeals to simplicity and magic of travel – two things that most travel reward programs do not often deliver.

“The Choice Hotels instant gift card promotion again offers simple, immediate rewards for loyalty,” he said. “The immediacy of a loyalty program is crucial to influence the on-the-go consumer.

“To cut through the noise and be top of mind for the small-screen consumer, the hospitality industry needs to go beyond being the purveyors of sleep to impulse reward destinations.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York