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Wyndham’s flat night redemption rates could change mobile rewards platforms

Wyndham Hotels is 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.

The reimagined loyalty platform, which is set to launch on May 11, aims to implement a generous points earning structure and eliminate confusing rewards categories for consumers. Now, members of Wyndham Rewards will be able to enjoy no blackout dates on their earned room stays, a feature that is likely to offer the brand a step up in the competitive hotel mobile loyalty sector.

“Mobile is an important strategy for us as we are launching this game-changing new rewards program,” said Noah Brodsky, vice president of worldwide loyalty and engagement for Wyndham Hotel Group, Parsippany, NJ. “We know that our members are often on the move, and the new mobile app will provide them with on-demand access to more than 7,500 Wyndham Rewards properties across the globe.”

Streamlined rewards system
With its trademarked tagline “You’ve Earned This,” Wyndham is planning to gift its loyalty members with a streamlined program structure and an updated mobile app. Starting on May 11, customers will have their existing rewards points transferred into the new program automatically.

“The app will allow members to easily check their points balance, redeem awards nights and access reservations details,” Mr. Brodsky said. “We will have more information on the new app in the coming months.”

The brand is also gearing up to introduce updated elite membership tiers for Wyndham’s most loyal members later this fall.

“It is critical to keep pace with the changes that today’s customers have come to expect,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners, Boston, MA. “Whenever a brand becomes more intimate with their loyalty base, it translates into higher sales.”

The revamped platform includes the “Go Free” award, which enables consumers to redeem a free hotel stay at any of the program’s participating hotels worldwide once they reach 15,000 rewards points. More than 7,500 properties are eligible for rewards redemptions, and there will be no blackout dates, a feature that is sure to resonate with members.

Meanwhile, the “Go Fast” award will allow consumers wishing to redeem points sooner or extend their stays for less to book a night at participating hotels for 3,000 points plus cash.

The faster rewards model also bestows each member with 10 points per dollar spent or a 1,000-point minimum per each hotel stay, whichever is more.

Catering to customers
Wyndham believes the reimagined program will help the brand better cater to its consumers’ needs. Its research has revealed that 89 percent of travelers seek to redeem their rewards points for a free hotel stay, and more than half believe that many rewards seem unattainable.

As mobile continues to take off in the hotel sector, easy redemptions will become critical for marketers in the hospitality sector, especially for those that aim to drive bookings via apps. and Egencia, Expedia’s business travel brand, recently released results from a global study on mobile-device-related behavior indicating consumers’ deep dependence on mobile devices while traveling (see story).

Mobile loyalty programs are now a requisite for all hotel brands to offer, while newer strategies, such as mobile room keys, look poised to reign supreme in 2015.

“We are very excited about the new program, and hope our guests will be as well,” Mr. Brodsky said. “We’ve eliminated the complications that have so often plagued other rewards programs, by offering a simple, flat redemption rate of 15,000 points for any Wyndham Rewards hotel with no blackout dates.

“This allows our members to earn points at our great value-oriented properties – whether it be for business or leisure – and then redeem for free nights at our upscale resorts around the world.”

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