Listening to customers is the best way to create and retain loyal customers. At Choice Hotels, this practice is commonplace en route to delivering a memorable customer experience.

Through a new program with delivery.com, an on-demand marketplace with more than 12,000 businesses, guests at Choice Hotels can now enjoy the added convenience of delivery services from local restaurants directly to their hotel location, including nearly 1,000 Choice Hotels properties across the country and growing—while also earning Choice Privileges loyalty points. On-demand delivery from wine and spirits shops, grocery stores, and even laundry and dry cleaning, is coming in the future.

Loyalty360 talked to Jamie Russo, Vice President of Loyalty and Customer Engagement at Choice Hotels International, about this new benefit.

Can you talk about Choice Hotels’ view on industry disruption and how you see this new program with delivery.com as a positive example of that?

Russo: The intersection between loyalty, personalization, and technology is driving change in both the on-property hotel experience and how people find and book hotels. This is why Choice Hotels recently enhanced its mobile app adding many new features, including integrating the delivery.com functionality.

Through the Choice Hotels enhanced mobile app, guests can now enjoy an enhanced on-property experience and be rewarded for it with Choice Privileges loyalty points. It is an incredibly exciting time to be in this industry, and we need to continue to challenge ourselves to be on the cutting edge of customer preferences.

As a franchisor, it is our job to provide technology solutions that our hotels can use to better the customer experience. As the first partner in our Digital Concierge, our hotels now meet an important need of travelers.

How can this new delivery service impact the customer experience and, ultimately, brand loyalty?

Russo: We are constantly listening to the needs of our customers and are committed to coming up with solutions to help support their busy lifestyle while traveling for both business and leisure. One thing that we heard as we watched guests arrive at our hotels was where they could order food from. The Choice Privileges collaboration with delivery.com meets this guest need, while also allowing guests to enjoy the perks and rewards that come with their Choice Privileges membership.

We also wanted the experience to be seamless and fast, which is why it is offered through our app in a format our members are familiar with, and their points can show up even before their food does!

In the design of the experience, we brought Choice Privileges members to our Choice Innovation Lab to make sure that the user interface was intuitive. This commitment to understanding and acting on our customers’ needs is the reason why Choice Privileges has seen not only accelerated growth this year, but also a high level of member engagement with the program. Our initiative with delivery.com will only continue to increase customer’s loyalty with Choice Hotels thanks to its added value.

Was this something customers asked for? What factors drove this partnership?

Russo: We pay close attention to customer tastes and trends because we know those things are constantly evolving. There are natural requests travelers have at our hotels, and through active listening on property, we realized this was an area where Choice could add value to our guests and franchisees. 

The integration of delivery.com into the recently enhanced Choice Hotels mobile app made great sense to us because it demonstrates how Choice constantly aims to help make travel easier and more rewarding.

Can you talk about the ongoing industry challenge of staying ahead of key technological advances that can significantly impact the customer experience?

Russo: The recent enhancements to the Choice Privileges program and the Choice Hotels mobile app are a reminder that there is no static solution to earning and retaining customer loyalty, so companies must be nimble keep innovating. However, at the core, the areas where we plan to invest will meet guest needs.

At Choice Hotels, we’re always looking to stay one step ahead of the lightning paced changes in technology and customer trends. Therefore, we’re building a culture around testing to understand where customers want us to add technology. 

At headquarters, we have the Choice Innovation Lab which allows us to bring in guests and quickly pilot technologies to determine if it is attractive and easy for them. When it is, we invest in making it happen.

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