InterContinental Makes Customers a Priority - Worldwide1 Jan, 2009 By: Jacqueline Renfrow Response
"We're fortunate that, having hotels in each region, we can tap into regional directors of marketing programs for specific brands," says Bott. How else would he have known that, as he says, "The house numbers in Japan are based on age of the house, not order on the street,"?
DR is a large part of IHG's targeted marketing strategies. Bott has found that the company's successful DR campaigns during the past few years have stemmed from a range of channels from traditional print to online technology.
As an example, Bott names the Stay More campaign, which is a stimulation offer targeted at Priority Club Rewards members in the form of an E-mail or self-mailer. The campaign goes out to 500,000 people globally every quarter.
"We evaluate customer stay patterns and then craft an offer," says Bott. The creative is based on lifestyle behavior and segmentation work done by the marketing team — empirical data plus explicit preferences. He adds, "We vary incentives from traditional point-based offers, which we know work the best, to other programs, such as for those who want to earn miles. Other offers include gift cards or, for example, in the United Kingdom, wine incentives. It's as simple as matching people's preferences for a variety of things and allowing them to accept and exhibit desired behavior."
Like many other DR marketers are finding, online communities have contributed largely to IHG's success during the past few years. Though IHG's communities are private for some of its Priority Club customers, those communities have served as a great research and development tool, as well as a great word-of-mouth piece. In one recent campaign, an offer put out to forum members included a code for a member bonus package, plus three other unique codes to pass onto family and friends. Though it was sent out to a small audience, the campaign received an 8-to-1 ROI — or a 20-to-1 ROI among the people registering from each E-mail containing the four codes.
"It started as a rebate program, and now it's manifested into a social currency platform," says Bott. "People are wanting to have this 'in-the-know' essence associated within a community or peer group. You're getting your brand advocated and adding to your value proposition, which adds credibility. The recommendation is embedded in a very simple, one-to-one conversation."