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Deep Customer Research Pivotal Piece of Customer Loyalty Puzzle at Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham Rewards has earned its fair share of accolades in recent years, during which time the loyalty program underwent a major transformation. What’s more, the program recently eclipsed 50 million members.

During a session titled, “Loyalty Revisited – A Retrospective Panel Discussion with Loyalty Expo “Alumni”,” at the recent Loyalty Expo, Noah Brodsky, senior vice president, worldwide loyalty and engagement at Wyndham Hotel Group, talked about the key factors that fuel the successful Wyndham Rewards loyalty program.

“There is more heated competition for the same customers,” Brodsky said. “We will see richer rewards. We rolled out new benefits for our best customers. It starts and ends with deep customer research. Test rigorously. That way, we know what we’re benchmarking against when we roll out new benefits. We live in a world of price transparency and price parity. Our competitive advantage is our loyalty program and our points.”

Brodsky added that it’s extremely important to always be able to answer the question: “What are our customers asking for?”

As a result, company officials can stay ahead of the competition, knowing at which particular points customers might feel vulnerable in the loyalty program.

Two years ago, officials at Wyndham Rewards completely re-imagined the program, Brodsky noted.

“Prior to that, we were competing with others in the space, but we weren’t differentiating ourselves,” he said. “We lacked a true brand identity and what’s more, a strong value proposition. When we re-launched the program, we changed all of that. We overhauled our branding—introducing the Wyndham Rewards Wyzard—and completely changed the mechanics of how the program works. Our premise was simple: Create a point of distinction by moving away from the trends of over complication and point devaluation that were happening elsewhere in our industry and use those to establish ourselves as a leader in the space.”

Customer research showed that a free night was the most important reward for members and, yet, that same research overwhelmingly showed that most felt that reward was out of reach.

With the new program, Wyndham introduced a flat redemption rate of just 15,000 points per night at any of its more than 8,000 hotels and, simultaneously, made it so that members earned a minimum 1,000 points with every stay.

Last month, Brodsky said that Wyndham views itself as a challenger brand and continues to push for innovation.

“Most recently, that’s meant expanding Wyndham Rewards across, not just hotels, but Wyndham’s unmatched vacation ownership and vacation rental portfolio,” he explained. “When it comes to our mobile efforts, the focus is on keeping true to who we are as a program and our promise of simplicity. With our current mobile app, members can do everything one would expect—from checking point balances to searching for hotels, booking, etc. We also have an incredibly innovative feature that is unique to our app known as 'Booking Magic.' Designed to help travelers keep their eyes on the road rather than the app, it lets them schedule a call from our Member Services team at a later time or date. When that call comes through, our team uses the phone’s location to share nearby hotels and then make a reservation. Down the line, there’s a lot more opportunity for mobile—especially in the realm of personalization. From our perspective, though, it’s a matter of balancing the latest technological advances with what makes sense for our members and our hotel owners.”

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