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DC Hospitality Group

Using Innovation To Win the Loyalty of A New Generation

Travel and hospitality companies around the world are constantly seeking ways to engage new customers and keep them coming back. And no customer is more sought-after than the Millennial traveler. We helped DC Hospitality Group, a local hospitality organization manage a series of pilot programs that used leading-edge technology tools to delight guests and begin building a relationship with a new generation of customers.

Creating Brand Loyalty from Scratch

What if you ran one the largest, most successful, loyalty programs in the hospitality industry, but many of your most loyal customers were approaching the time in their lives when they would cut back on their travel? You’d probably brainstorm: who’s next?

This well-established hospitality group based in DC knew the answer was Millennials – a generation with a thirst for travel, enormous spending power, and limited brand loyalty. Capturing this audience would require agility and a tech savvy approach to new product development – as well as the need to establish brand awareness and acceptance with a new set of customers. But what innovative strategies would generate real engagement? And what offers, at what level, would spur action?

That’s where Excella came in: the hospitality giant hired us to help implement several pilot programs focused on using mobile technology to revolutionize the way the next generation traveler earns, redeems, and engages with hotel loyalty programs.

Creating #LoyalMillennials

The client piloted a new mobile-enabled social experience in 2014 to over 40 million members. The pilot program awarded loyalty points to participants for their social media activity. To implement the pilot, Excella provided project management and business analysis support from project conception through launch and post-launch support. Excella coordinated across many disciplines, including IT, third-party vendors, creative agencies, legal, communications, customer support, digital, and brand marketing.

Perks That Cement Loyalty

The client also piloted an initiative at 14 different properties to be the first hospitality loyalty program to use beacon technology to geo-target guests with offers and messages. As a guest moved around a property, he/she was “surprised and delighted” with content targeted to their precise location (e.g., a free drink when near the bar area). For this pilot, Excella again managed the overall project from planning through a phased launch and post-launch support. With a critical timeline pressing the project forward, Excella worked closely with the customer and multiple vendors to integrate functionality into an app and coordinated with the cross-functional team to determine test processes for offer sourcing, creative content development, beacon installation, system testing, staff training, and marketing.

“One of the biggest goals with [the pilot] is to find a new way to connect with our customers, specifically on smartphones. We see that people are on their mobile devices all the time, and we want to give customers another property experience that is a little bit more rich, a little bit more personalized.”
– Client
Director of Digital Strategy

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