Consumer Lookout: Hotel Loyalty Programs
Wyndham ByRequest - Giving Guests VIP Treatment
By Kathy Chin Leong
Hotels are gathering more data than ever before as customers sign up for its online loyalty programs, and you the consumer, have the most to gain. Wyndham Hotel Corp. is leading the pack with its signature loyalty program called Wyndham ByRequest.
Instead of waiting to accumulate points to earn a free hotel stay like other programs, a Wyndham ByRequest member gets free benefits immediately. A ByRequest member who goes to a hotel gets a complimetnary and tailored snack and beverage, and the amenities he has signed up for earlier. He also receives free Internet in-room access, long distance calling, free copying and faxing and printing services.
How to obtain this first-class treatment? Sign up online at www.wyndham.com . The online ByRequest questionnaire asks the member preferences in room location, bed size, music, wine, juices, reading materials, and even pillow materials-feather or foam?
Mark Hedley, Wyndham’s chief information officer, says that in 2000, the corporation went thorugh a major reorganization, properties were sold off, and the properites that were kept all went under the Wyndham brand name and are franchiased or individually owned. Its guest loyalty program was developed then, and is marketed extensively as a key differentiator.
"We wanted to lure customers in and created this program based on highly personalized service. We have a cusomer profile of over 500 different items. We have a dedicated manager on site to take responsibity of that customer once they arrive."
A guest manager assigned to the ByRequest member uses the culled data to make the guest feel great. The manager knows whether this guest has come before, and can place a note on the guest pillow which reads, "Welcome Back." So far, over 2 million guests have signed up for the free service.
At a recent stay at the Wyndham Resort in Carmel, the efficiencies of the ByRequest program proved to be true. The staff had equipped my room with extra pillows and blankets, as specified in the form. On the coffee table was bottled water, fruit, cheese and crackers, again, also noted in my customer profile. Home and garden magazines were laid out like organized playing cards on the side table in the living room of my suite. Yes, it seemed like they knew me already just through my questionnaire and requests, even though we had never spoken or met face to face.
A nice note from my ByRequest manager welcomed me to the resort. Additional hangers in the closet? Yep! Another fine touch.
Bottom line? It never hurts to sign up for free services if you can handle getting more emails and marketing materials from the hotelier. As for me, I don’t mind receiving more info in exchange for free fruit and chocolates, and the extra soft feather pillows! If there’s another ByRequest-type program out there, I’ll sign up in a second.
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