The 2012 CRM Elite
Wyndham Hotel Group
Rewarding Loyal Customers
With Acxiom's help, the Wyndham Hotel Group's targeted email campaign saw a 187 percent increase in marketing revenue.
Hotel guests are a fickle group. Providing them with an excellent experience that includes free Wi-Fi, room service, a spa, and a fitness center does not guarantee they will return for another stay. In addition, while loyalty programs are a common way to draw returning guests, creating and managing the promotions on a large scale can easily become a logistical headache. Florence Ho, senior director of loyalty marketing at Wyndham Hotel Group—which includes more than 7,000 hotels and a loyalty program with more than 8 million members—experienced this issue firsthand.
"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," Ho says. "We knew we wanted to do this differently."
Ho and her team had previously worked with marketing firm Acxiom, and they once again sought the company's help in designing the elements of a new targeted email campaign and executing it.
"Their [Wyndham Hotel Group's] challenge was putting together a disciplined messaging strategy that balanced the right amount of touches for these time-defined promotional windows without overcommunicating and turning their audience off," explains Kati Venturato, account director of agency services at Acxiom. "We helped maximize their sales opportunity in the email channel using a sophisticated life-cycle messaging strategy."
In designing the promotion's email messaging strategy, Acxiom (with input from Ho and her team) considered best practice workflows regarding message sequence, timing, and touch points. They then created Web pages and more than 60 email versions, with custom subject lines and body copy, that were sent to approximately 1 million Wyndham Rewards members in the United States, 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.
The emails included various one-off marketing blasts as well as reminder emails for members who had not yet signed up for the promotion, had yet to make a reservation, or were in the middle of the offer life cycle. Acxiom also managed Wyndham Hotel Group's API-triggered registration confirmation emails.
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 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 43 percent over those for a previous campaign.
Given the success of the campaign, members can expect additional targeted email campaigns, Ho confirms.
"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."
- Wyndham Hotel Group's email campaign resulted in a 187 percent increase in email marketing revenue.
- The campaign increased email open rates by 8.2 percent.
- The email click-to-deliver rate increased by 27 percent.
- Promotion registration rates rose by 43 percent.