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For Michelle Lapierre, Senior Director Customer Experience and Social Media, Marriott Rewards, brand loyalty extends beyond revenue.
“We are redefining value and loyalty just like everybody is,” Lapierre told Loyalty360. “We now have to take into consideration a much longer process to gain brand loyalists. It is no longer a look at how much value a loyal customer brings based on revenue, but how these loyal customers help to shape the brand. Emerging value - and value that has yet to have hard-and-fast metrics attached to it - is how content and social conversation turns into opinion, then influence and the form that influence takes when it turns into revenue. The traditional adages of defining value on spend, and spend over X period of time are still valid, but there are other factors that influence brand loyalty, and social media is helping us shape our strategies to stay aligned with these.”
Lapierre said that Marriott Rewards uses social media as a key customer engagement/customer loyalty strategy.
“With social media, you have to understand that the content you put out there has long-lasting engagement; it’s a conversation, and a commitment,” she said. “You have to continually be engaging with your followers. You have to have moderators, you have to have customer care, you have to have listening capabilities. And you have to respond in real time, in the right language, 24/7/365.”
Retaining and creating brand loyalty is no longer just about selling travel.
“We now ask what part does travel play in fulfilling the needs and wants of a customer’s life experience and how do we use that ongoing conversation to assist in fulfilling their needs and wants?” Lapierre explained. “Marriott wants to be the favorite travel partner in the world, but we’re so much more than that. Our strategy is to assist our community in finding and engaging with fresh content that’s useful and relevant. We are earning the right to be a part of personal conversations. It’s a long-term customer engagement strategy, as opposed to simple discounts and hard-sell messaging. We are leveraging Facebook, Twitter, bloggers, and a variety of other social channels internationally. Marriott Rewards manages these with Oracle’s Social Cloud, which gives us comprehensive insights into what our audience is saying. We do not need to establish a presence in a channel in order to be talked about in the channel. Oracle Social Cloud listening capabilities also gives us visibility of customer conversations in channels where we are yet to establish a presence.”
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