If the goal of your business is to have a long and fruitful existence, the key to this is gaining customer loyalty. The most successful companies see the majority of their business coming from a small percentage of their customers, the ones with which they’ve built a solid and repeat relationship. While there is always value in attracting new customers, keeping the old ones happy is good business sense and in the long run, requires a lot less work and budget.
Reward the loyal
Whitney Cripe, Senior Director of Loyalty Marketing at Wyndham Hotel Group says that Wyndham’s email strategy is to “engage, energize and inform customers”. Their primary goals include:
- Keeping their customers informed of deals and discounts
- Rewarding loyal customers
- Giving them a reason to believe and a reason to return
This mix of strategies has helped lead them to success and the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program was recently ranked #1 Best Hotel Rewards Program for 2016-2017. Through their emails, subscribers get offered exclusive offers and rates and discounts on local attractions and events. Cripe says the program is “built to reward and our email dialogue with our customers really underscores that. We highlight for members all the ways the points and the program works for them”. Rewarding your loyal readers is definitely one way to ensure they stay with you for the long term. No one can resist a gift.
Rather than appeal to the general and broad hotel-staying public, they are appealing to those who’ve already tried the brand, by giving them the things others aren’t going to get (discounts, special offers, free nights).
More Frequent Communication
For a customer to stay loyal, they need to hear from you a little more often than they hear from your competitors. The frequency of Wyndham’s communications vary, but their more-loyal customers receive more emails, including a monthly e-newsletter with the most important news, offers, member perks and announcements, meant just for them. Cripe says they “try to strike a good balance, giving information about places members love to stay, rewarding them for their loyalty and inspiring them to come back and enjoy more nights with us”.
While special deals and rewards are one way of securing brand loyalty, inspiring your customers is yet another. One of Wyndham’s newest wins is sending out “aspirational emails”, talking about the best locations for customers to use their reward points. Cripe says “it really fires people up and motivates them to consider us again”. She believes the customization of these offers and what seems like one-on-one communication really speaks to the reader. Not only are they encouraging readers to build rewards, they are actually encouraging and showing them how to use them.
Alignment with Other Efforts
Cripe also believes that the alignment of all of their digital marketing campaigns is akin to what she calls “surround sound”, where their voice is amplified and consistent. They key to this strategy is working with a “cross-functional” team, who make content decisions based on all of the data provided through their many channels. When customers see a consistent message in emails, social media and other forms of marketing, they are more likely to trust the brand and remain loyal.
Measuring the data from every channel, Wyndham’s strategy is to look beyond just the clicks. They strive to measure true engagement, which includes hotel bookings, enrollment in their rewards program and guests taking advantage of the emailed offers. Cripe says “Seeing our guests return to us is the truest success”. Because Wyndham’s marketing goals include seeing customers cash in on their rewards, giving them these rewards is incredibly easy. This means that guests are returning and will continue to return, either with a paid or a free stay.