Lower Cost, But Higher Loyalty
By John Hennessy, Vice President, Concept Shopping, Inc.
Instead of communicating with its Preferred Plus members four to seven weeks after a stay, Starwood Hotel & Resorts is using print-on-demand capabilities to deliver a more personalized communication more frequently.
Starwood can personalize mail pieces with the member’s name, number and according to one of seven possible membership levels. The outer and inside graphics often include a photo of a recently visited property and the language of the member’s native country can be used. Starwood also benefits by being able to deliver information to new members sooner and deliver more current account information to existing members.
Costs are reduced through print-on-demand because there is no obsolete print inventory to throw away. Marketing partners also can get their logos and customized messages to members quicker.
Moderator’s Comment: How are other loyalty programs differentiating what they offer to their members?
Hotel loyalty programs can easily become “me too” affairs offering undifferentiated member value. Using print-on-demand services to deliver personalized
pieces with more timely information is a great way for Starwood to stand out.
For frequent travelers, this approach not only represents a superior level of member relevance and service, but also keeps Starwood top of mind with those
most likely to need accommodations.
Starwood’s approach shows its guests that Starwood is paying attention. That goes a long way toward encouraging loyalty. –
John Hennessy – Moderator