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Doug Carrillo, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Virgin Hotels, is very excited about the company’s new loyalty program called “The Know,” which tracks customer preferences prior to their arrival.
Carrillo brought Loyalty360 into The Know, discussing the goals and execution of its new loyalty program.
What factors prompted the launch of The Know loyalty program?
The Virgin Hotels promise is to make guests feel as if our hotels are their place in the city, so we knew we had to build a program that centered around their likes and dislikes with a touch of surprise and delight.
What makes it unique?
We’re aiming to differentiate our program by focusing on those preferences and delivering the heartfelt service that has created millions of Virgin fans worldwide. Things like ensuring their mini-bar is stocked to their liking, knowing their pet peeves, and of course giving them first access to Virgin Hotels events and news about our partnerships, including other Virgin companies, is what being “In the Know” is all about.
We've studied a lot of what it means to create meaningful loyalty within our industry and more importantly inside Virgin and their successful companies. We think it’s about delivering on your brand promise, creating surprising and delightful moments and nurturing authentic relationships with your fans. The Know won't be a one-way channel, it will be an open dialogue between its members and Virgin Hotels.
How do you define customer loyalty and has that definition changed in recent years?
Customer loyalty has absolutely evolved because of the growth of social media. Loyalty is a number of things – it’s returning time and time again, engaging with the brand on a social level and spreading that word passionately. We feel all these actions will organically happen if guests feel comfortable and at home at Virgin Hotels.
What are you most proud of at Virgin Hotels?
There are so many elements that we get excited about, but what we’re most proud of is being on the customer’s side. Our stance with fees and surcharges is easy: We don’t have any. Virgin Hotels is not charging for Wi-Fi—regardless of bandwidth, room service delivery, early check-in, late check-out and a whole host of other charges that are common these days and pain points for today’s traveler. Like many of our sister Virgin companies, we’re challenging status quo in our industry by being the consumer champion, delivering a stylish and innovative experience and hoping to make a big splash.
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