AccorHotels uses biometrics to grow Le Club loyalty

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By: Kelly Shermach |

Posted on August 29, 2018

Once a poetic way to describe an experienced person, AccorHotels is reading the map of the world in consumers' faces to direct them to their next travel locations. Targeting prospects for its rewards program, the survey piggybacks on the integration of the acquired Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel loyalty programs.

The biometrics assessment, called Seeker, measures a participant's heart rate and pulse in response to images and questions. These readings categorize a would-be vacationer on psychological, personality, destination and style criteria. Consumers engage on computer or smartphone cameras, or at kiosks in North American AccorHotels.

Novel way to collect data

The quiz uncovers whether someone craves relaxation or adventure, a rural setting or a city, company or solitude by the flush in her face. But it can be just as valuable to AccorHotels as insight gleaned from its Le Club loyalty program member stays. While AccorHotels is not storing initial biometric results, it enables consumers to socialize them through digital networks. And it is using aggregated data to better target its advertising, improve loyalty member segmentation and generally deliver compelling guest experiences.

A user doesn’t have to give AccorHotels any contact information to take the test or receive results but is directed to the Le Club AccorHotels online form to sign up for the loyalty program.

"Biometrics holds the potential to be the holy grail of big data, but it’s not clear why frequent travelers are going to want to participate at this stage," says Gary Leff, frequent traveler expert and co-founder of InsideFlyer.com. "It’s a technology in its infancy, though combined with AI, [it] holds tremendous potential for marketers. The key is to show benefits to consumers in order to encourage adoption while actually using the data in a constructive way to deliver meaningful benefits."

AccorHotels embracing luxury experiences

"The current Accor program remains a young program and has already added benefits since it was launched," Leff says. It is learning from Fairmont, Swissôtel and Raffles customers.

And it's smart that AccorHotels take time to learn from Seeker. "Too many marketers spend heavily to acquire data on the theory that it’s valuable, without knowing what to do with the data once they have it. It’s the difference between know that and know how," he says. "The data is valuable, but there needs to be a valuable proposition to the consumer that isn’t fully mature yet. They aren’t ready to succeed with it."

"One challenge Accor faces broadly is tying together the disparate pieces of the businesses they’ve acquired, whether local or concierge-based, hotels or sharing economy," he continues. "They can certainly acquire tremendous data about customers through these efforts. The challenge becomes how to understand the data so that they can understand purchasing intent, moving the needle on customers who are considering a spending decision with the right kind of communication, with the right offer, at the right time. That’s the direction that loyalty marketers generally are going to need to learn to move towards, utilizing AI."

Kelly Shermach is a reporter for The Wise Marketer.