Worldwide Collaboration Changes the Face of Global Loyalty

Minneapolis | December 04, 2007

How does a multi-brand, international hotel company take a successful domestic frequent guest program worldwide With great care and a great partner.

That's what Carlson Hotels did when it wanted to expand its goldpoints plusSM to cover its five hotel brands in 965 locations in 71 countries. "We looked for a marketing services company that was up to the challenge and selected Carlson Marketing, not because it's a sister company, but because it really was the best company for the job," said Fredrik Korallus, executive vice president of Revenue Generation, Carlson Hotels Worldwide. "Carlson Marketing is now our loyalty agency of record for North and South America, and our marketing partner for all aspects of the program."

The task was to create a single global system that would define the next generation of loyalty for hotels including multiple currencies and multiple languages. Plus the platform needed to be cost-efficient in order to provide extra value to the consumer.

"We were able to do that by working closely with our Carlson Hotels client and tapping into our best thinking from around the world," said Scott Heintzeman, Chief Information Office, Carlson Marketing. "We worked with our IT resources in Minneapolis, Sydney, and India, and with Carlson Hotels IT folks in Omaha, Minneapolis and Copenhagen to reach our objectives.

"In addition, we simultaneously developed a platform that is easily adaptable for other Carlson Marketing loyalty clients. We developed interconnected elements and services such as content management, business rules management, file management, a service bus so services can communicate with each other, a reporting service, a banking service, an airline redemption service, a global prepaid card, a contact center and more."

Carlson Marketing relied on its wide array of capabilities to meet the need, including experts in operations, creative, decision sciences and prepaid cards. "The new goldpoints plus frequent guest program brings 'global' to a whole new level and provides Carlson Hotels with an entirely different level of sophistication. To the consumer, it's simple value; but from a marketing standpoint, it's highly sophisticated and very exciting," said Luc Bondar, Global Vice President, Loyalty, Carlson Marketing.

Was it successful According to Randy Petersen, editor of InsideFlyer and FlyerTalk and a noted frequent travel loyalty expert in an October 29, 2007, posting on btbtravel.com, "In an age of member disappointment because of devaluation of their points, it's refreshing to know that there is a hotel company out there doing what's best for its customers. Carlson Hotels has raised the bar for earning more points for their members, 100 percent for most hotel stays, and yet for the large majority of their rewards they have not raised the requirements for redemption."

Under the new structure, travelers will have the opportunity to earn 50 to 100 percent more points per hotel stay without an increase in the redemption level for rewards (e.g. 20 points per U.S. dollar/Euro spent on full-service brand hotel stays). Also, the program includes the opportunity for earning airline miles with the participation of 23 airline partners. Improved benefits for elite members include best available room, 25 to 50 percent point bonuses, last room availability, early check-in and late check-out, and elite-only points and cash offers.

Also, under the new program, CHW will allow guests to donate to the World Childhood Foundation, focused on the prevention of child exploitation and trafficking, as well as being environmentally responsible with the ability to transfer points to Carbon Neutral and help offset CO2 emissions associated with travel.

"Working with Carlson Marketing, we have created a frequent guest loyalty program that is truly as global as the Carlson Hotels' footprint," said Korallus. "In a time when most hospitality loyalty programs are bound by design constraints, ours has managed to cross geographic, linguistic, and monetary borders."

The Carlson Hotels brands included in the goldpoints plus program are Regent Hotels & Resorts®, Radisson Hotels & Resorts®, Park Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson℠, and Park Inn®.

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