Members of the Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards loyalty programs might be hearing the strains of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” since they are available for redemption via the SPG Moments site. Highlights include batting practice with legends, ceremonial first pitch tosses, catching fly balls at the All-Star Game Home Run Derby, and more.

A Marriott spokesperson talked to Loyalty360 about these intriguing packages.

Can you talk about how SPG views experiential experiences like this that, seemingly, draw a much deeper emotional connection with customers?
 Marriott understands that our members value experiences more so than ever before. Enabling our members to pursue their passions−whether it is baseball or other sports, culinary, music, or entertainment—means we are creating a tremendous opportunity to build a more emotional connection with them.
 
More than a decade ago in 2006, SPG—one Marriott's three award-winning loyalty programs—recognized the emerging experiential trend when it introduced SPG Moments. In addition, Marriott Rewards launched its Experiences Marketplace last year. When Marriott acquired Starwood last year, we immediately enabled members of SPG, Marriott Rewards, and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards to link their accounts to have their status matched and transfer points among the programs to redeem for stays across the combined portfolios or for partnership-driven experiences.
 
Together, our loyalty programs offered more than 13,000 experiences ranging from once-in-a-lifetime moments, like throwing out the first pitch at the World Series, to members-only concerts with top artists to tickets to hard-to-get-into Broadway shows, to suite access at sought after sporting events, and more. Every year, we work with our partners like MLB and the Cubs to push the envelope in offering more incredible member experiences that will last a lifetime.
 
How long has SPG been offering these kinds of MLB experiences and how did you arrive at this intriguing concept?
SPG entered into a relationship with the MLB as the official hotel and resort partner of the Chicago Cubs in 2012. After tremendous success, SPG expanded the partnership to become MLB’s official hotel loyalty program in 2015.  SPG and Marriott know that members are passionate about America’s favorite pastime, so we are offering even more MLB experiences in 2017.
 
What has the reception been like from customers? 
Customers have been loving the newly added experiences. In 2016, SPG saw an increase of 66 percent in total points redeemed. One member shared, “Pretty committed to SPG over the years and this was a nice way to spend 20,000 Star points; it’s great to get something special in return for all of the stays.”
 
From singing the National Anthem before a game to watching your favorite team from the dugout, members are eager to experience baseball like never before and know they can only experience thanks to SPG’s MLB partnership. But it’s not just MLB. Families are using their points for unique experiences all the time, “My daughter loved the experience. It was truly once-in-a-lifetime and everyone was so enthusiastic about making sure the children enjoy it!”
 
What are your goals for the MLB packages from a customer engagement/customer experience perspective?
Our members have demonstrated their loyalty to SPG so offering these MLB experiences demonstrates our loyalty to them. SPG is constantly working to offer members the most unique and exclusive personalized experiences. For Marriott, success means engaging our SPG and Marriott Rewards members with experiences beyond their stays at our more than 6,100 hotels worldwide, creating emotional connections with our members built around their passions.

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