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Case study: How Wyndham Rewards win big on loyalty beyond the “elites”

Hotel brands recognise that apart from price, location, good reviews and recommendations, loyalty programmes play a very important role in securing customer bookings.

However, the hospitality industry these days is also saturated with loyalty programmes that offer confusing reward categories, and in some cases causing the devaluation of points. Many of these programmes also have a tendency on targeting the wealthier travellers, with a less focus on travellers with lower budget. In recognising this, Wyndham Hotel Group has stepped up with its Wyndham Rewards to focus on targeting the “everyday” travellers.

This post was done in conjunction with Wyndham Hotel Group. The campaign won a gold in Best Use of Rewards and Incentives; and bronze in Best Loyalty Programme in Travel/Hospitality at the Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2017.

Problem

Loyalty is a vital piece of the hospitality space yet, for too long, programmes have centred solely on hotels and the travelling elites.

Solution

Wyndham Hotel Group re-strategised its loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards, in 2015 to focus on the everyday traveller. The program was overhauled to deliver simplicity and value for members, rewarding them with what they want most, a free night stay.

On this, Wyndham Hotel said its rewards programme also became the first global hotel loyalty program with an unprecedented scale to offer a flat redemption rate (15,000 points = 1 free night).

In 2016, the program was expanded to give members more redemption options, and it included not just across the hotel portfolio but all aspirational vacation ownership and vacation rental properties.

This unlocks the full potential of Wyndham Rewards and opens a world of new experiences, giving members the ability to travel where and how they want based on their individual needs.

How it works:

go freeSM: With just 15,000 points, members can redeem a free night with no confusing tiers or blackout dates.

go fastSM:  For just 3,000 points plus some cash, members can redeem a go fast award.  This option gives members the flexibility to redeem free nights faster, especially for those that travel less frequently.

go get ‘emSM:  For every qualified stay, members earn a minimum of 1,000 points with every day, or 10 points per dollar spent – whichever is more.

go freeSM home and go freeSM condo: 15,000 points, per bedroom, members get a free night at its loyalty program’s hotels, homes and condominiums.

go fastSM home and go fastSM condo: Get a night for just 3,000 points, per bedroom plus some cash, at participating hotels, homes and condominiums.

Execution

The hotel group also wanted to position its loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards, as one of the blue threads that connects its 19 iconic brands from economy, mid-scale and upscale brand segments across Wyndham Hotel Group’s portfolio in the Southeast Asia and Pacific Rim region.

Its campaigns are fronted by an inspiring Wyzard who makes “magical” things happen for those who have earned it. To inject some pop culture into the campaign, it cast Kristofer Hivju, most notably known as Tormund Giantsbane in HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. The Wyndham Wyzard delivers its brand message with a bit of wittiness to make guests smile.

To boost greater consumer awareness in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, it also ran a two month-long social media campaign last year titled “Tour the World with Wyndham”. Generous prizes were given out to encourage participation including a grand prize of one million Wyndham Rewards points (66 free room nights) and a total of 110 free room nights as part of the daily giveaway.

Participating in the contest was simple – consumers had to follow its page and submit a creative post on what they would do with a million Wyndham Rewards points as well as include its campaign hashtags.

The simple mechanics of the contest gave its Facebook followers a fun way to engage with the hotel company and reinforce its message, “we are simple to use and generous.”

Late last year, the hotel group expanded its award-winning program, Wyndham Rewards, across one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, Wyndham Worldwide. This adds more than 17,000 condos and homes to the program’s already-impressive, redemption portfolio of over 8,000 hotels.

The move is an industry-first both in terms of scale and global impact. With more than 120,000 properties across 100 countries spanning hotels, vacation ownership and professionally managed vacation rentals, Wyndham Worldwide offers travelers something no other provider can: the opportunity to experience travel the way they want regardless of location or type of accommodation.

Results

The results have been very encouraging. Member occupancy levels are at the highest they’ve ever been as we’ve changed “elite” programs and special member experiences to extend beyond only the rich and well-travelled.

Its new member base has increased by 26%, and more than a third of its existing members have been active for the past year. Most of all, its award night redemptions have seen a near nine-fold increase.

“Our program also achieved the top spot on the US News and World Report’s Best Travel Rewards Program ranking, unseating the previously undefeated holder. Across the globe, Wyndham Rewards has been repeatedly recognised as the simplest, most rewarding program in the industry – collecting more than 40 awards and accolades in a little over two years,” the hotel group said.

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