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Listening to customers and garnering invaluable feedback can, ultimately, help brands shape successful loyalty programs.
Enter Choice Hotels International and its Choice Privileges loyalty program.
Loyalty360 talked to Jamie Russo, VP, loyalty & customer management at Choice Hotels International, about the company’s customer-centric approach.
“We monitor customer tastes and trends because we know they are constantly evolving,” Russo explained. “This includes frontline listening to customer calls, monitoring website feedback and user preferences, as well as traditional research. We employ Net Promoter Score surveys every month to ensure that customer feedback plays a large role in everything that we do, making it the primary driver behind the success of the Choice Privileges program as we strive to continuously improve guest satisfaction.”
Russo said the Choice Privileges program is designed around what customers will find useful and relevant to them.
“Customers let us know they wanted flexible, instant perks, so Choice Privileges developed Your Extras rewards which are delivered electronically upon check in and can change with every stay,” Russo said. “Customers can also immediately redeem for digital gift cards. They can redeem for a restaurant gift card, then go across the street from one of our hotels for their meal. These are just some examples of how customer insights are leveraged and the extent to which we are developing program features that are most meaningful to our customers.”
Russo said Choice Hotels officials are always open to new ideas.
“We know customer needs change and evolve, but we also try to ensure consistency so customers can know what to expect,” he said. “While promotions provide a temporary benefit for our members, our research indicated that customers also want tangible rewards more often. This insight paved the way to launch the Choice Privileges Your Extras feature, a first of its kind program that offers members an instant additional reward including immediate credits with companies like Amazon, Shell, or Uber; or, members may select more Choice Privileges points or airline miles at mid-week check-in. We are constantly reminded that there is no blanket solution to earning and retaining customer loyalty, so we will continue to keep listening, innovating, and evolving our program as our customer needs change.”
Technology continues to shift the loyalty landscape, Russo noted.
“It opens up so many new ways for us to be able to meet our guests stated and unstated needs, so we are building a culture around testing to understand where customers want us to add technology,” Russo added. “At Choice Hotels Headquarters, we have created an Innovation Lab that allows us to bring in guests and quickly pilot technologies to determine if it is attractive and easy for them. When it is, we invest in making it happen. Choice Privileges members make up the overwhelming majority of our mobile app user base, and reservations from the mobile app are now up 52 percent since the program redesign. The next phase of innovation for us has been understanding how to make the travel experience seamless and we have learned that this notion extends beyond the hotel. That insight informed launching the Your Extras program and selecting the right partners. The great appeal and success of Choice Privileges helps us to build stronger relationships with customers. It is also what separates us from our competitors. So, no doubt, it is an extremely important business driver for our company.”
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