Wyndham Hotel Group's Targeted Emails Break Records

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Room service, free Wi-Fi, a Jacuzzi, and a swimming pool were once considered prime hotel perks. But as these amenities become more commonplace, hotels have to work even harder to ensure their guests continue to come back for additional stays. In an effort to give guests incentives to return frequently, the Wyndham Hotel Group turned to a targeted email campaign.

"In the past, we've launched email promotions, but it takes a lot of work to create them, and we weren't getting as many out as we would have liked," says Florence Ho, senior director of loyalty marketing at Wyndham Hotel Group. "We knew we wanted to do this differently."

Ho and her team had previously worked with marketing firm Acxiom, and they sought the company's help in designing the elements of the new promotion and executing it.

The team considered best practice workflows regarding message sequence, timing, and touchpoints. They then created Web pages and more than 60 email versions with custom subject lines and body copy that were sent to approximately one million Wyndham Rewards members in the U.S., all of whom were already registered email subscribers. Subsequent emails were based on the actions the members took. Once the team developed the creative elements, an automated email engine executed the campaigns based on current data.

Wyndham launched the email campaign last summer.

Starting with an introductory email, members were informed that by staying at participating hotels, they could earn points that could be redeemed for rewards, including free nights at hotels, airline travel, resort vacations, event tickets, and gift cards.

Depending on the recipient's actions, such as signing up for the promotion, booking a reservation, or completing a stay, the automated engine followed up with a specific message tailored to that person's recent activity. A weekly follow-up email, for example, might indicate how many stays a member still needs in order to earn a specific bonus.

"Weekly triggered emails can sound like a lot, so we included a component that allows members to opt out," Ho says. "When members opt out, they can let us know that they already booked a stay or are not planning to travel during this time period. We wanted to make sure we were putting the power in the consumer's hand."

Within a few weeks, the email campaign started to show results. Compared to the previous targeted promotion, the direct revenue tracked through the email series was up by 187 percent.

It also succeeded in driving the highest engagement metrics when compared to earlier email campaigns. The email open rate was up 8.2 percent, and the click-to-deliver rate was up by 27 percent. Registration rates for the summer promotion had increased by 43 percent compared to the registration rates for a previous campaign.

Given the success of the campaign, members can expect additional targeted email campaigns, Ho confirmed.

"Getting that forty-three percent increase in registration rates is huge. We also received some valuable insight into what kinds of email messages work best for our various customer segments," Ho says. "…We will definitely do this again."

The Payoff:
Wyndham Hotel Group's email campaign resulted in:

  • a 187 percent increase in email marketing revenue;
  • an 8.2 percent increase in email open rates;
  • a click-to-deliver rate that was up by
  • 27 percent; and
  • a 43 percent increase in promotion registration rates.

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