Hyatt Offers Random Lesson in Loyalty Building
At the recent Loyalty Expo in Orlando, speaker after speaker
talked about improving the customer experience and the value that loyalty
programs bring to that effort.
In a session moderated by rDialogue CEO Phil Rubin (a RetailWire BrainTrust
panelist), for example, Kathy Turley of The Palm Restaurant Group talked about
how the company compares visit data of loyalty program members to non-members.
The Palm tracks the incremental spend that members make on visits when redeeming
loyalty points and finds that loyalty program members are a little more forgiving
when they experience a problem.
In another session moderated by another BrainTrust
member Bill Hanifin, managing director, Hanifin Loyalty LLC, Jackie Reid of
the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection mentioned that 0.4 percent of their customers
drive more than 25 percent of their revenue, so they have a VIP program for
Yet, with all the talk of targeting
and measuring (“That which gets measured
gets done”), I was in for a very pleasant, apparently random surprise when
I checked into the conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Orlando.
happened? Arriving at the Hyatt before noon last Monday, I expected to have
to check my bags and get into a room later. Henry, the front-desk associate,
asked if two double beds would be okay. I replied that any room would be fine,
just wanting to drop my bags and get to the conference. After a wait of several
minutes, during which time I heard another potential guest turned away nicely
because the hotel was sold out that night, I was informed that Henry was “looking
for a really nice room.” And, indeed he found one! As I was handed my
room key, Henry informed me that my room was a “bi-level” and that
he had made me the “guest of the day.”
Long story short: I was upgraded
from a $189 standard room to the Grand Cypress Suite on the 17th and 18th floors
of the hotel, which had a living room, sitting room, mini-kitchen, huge outdoor
patio, a large master bath plus a guest bath, two large HD TVs, etc.
Maximum nightly charge according to the door posting: $5800.
All in all, it
was a great customer experience, albeit not a targeted one. Upon checking out,
I asked another associate why I had been selected for this upgrade. She
said they select one person at random per day for their “guest
of the day” program and that it is at the discretion of front desk personnel.
It’s not a national Hyatt program, but just something this hotel does.
got me thinking about whether retailers and brands should measure and target
all aspects of their customer loyalty programs or if fun surprises like this
might do more for customer loyalty than targeted efforts. At first I thought
I might have been selected for this upgrade because I have a lot of Hilton
points, figuring they might be trying to convert me, but that apparently was
not the case. In many years of travel, accumulating well over a million American
Aadvantage miles, for example, I’ve never experienced anything like this.
And, of course, the first thing I did following this experience was tell family
and friends about it.
Discussion Questions: Should retailers and brands incorporate “random acts of kindness” into their customer experience and loyalty efforts or are untargeted efforts like this unlikely to return measurable ROI and therefore be a wasted effort?