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Marriott taps power of loyalty program

News, 19 October 2016

NAPLES, FL: Marriott International, the hotels group, is successfully using its loyalty program as a means to link a diverse range of different marketing efforts.

Karin Timpone, Marriott's Global Marketing Officer, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Masters of Measurement Conference.

"There simply is no better mousetrap than loyalty – to have our members linking their account, and now discovering all of the other great properties that they can go to," she said. (For more details of the company's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Marriott grounds loyalty program with "magic" metrics.)

Drilling down into this topic, she asserted that Marriott Rewards represents not only an essential marketing tool, but a fundamental element of the organisation's wider corporate strategy.

"The loyalty program, for us, is really a core strategy of the company," Timpone said. "It is the way that we deeply engage with our customer. Our hotel properties are the [brand's] face to the customer."

But "whether it's the website, the app, [or any other] communication," she continued, the loyalty program has provided an enterprise-wide engagement tool.

"There are lots of things that cross loyalty," added Timpone. "It's not just the program itself, but we bring the story out about all the great properties and experiences that we have."

As one example of how this philosophy can rapidly be translated into winning marketing initiatives, she cited a campaign conducted by the brand when the Pokémon Go craze was at a fever pitch.

More specifically, Marriott Rewards sponsored Nick Johnson, who had collected all the Pokémon available in North America, but needed to travel overseas to snag the digital creatures exclusively on offer in other countries.

Having identified Johnson through its real-time monitoring and analytics capabilities, he then stayed at several Marriott hotels in different nations, fitting the brand organically into the narrative around Pokémon Go.

"His social media storytelling about all of our brands, our portfolio, was made possible by our loyalty program," Timpone said. "It was very real time; it wasn't something that happened months after this particular trend."

Data sourced from Warc