Occasionally a loyalty reward comes along so brilliant in its simpicity and obvious utility that one wonders why someone didn't come up with it years ago. With that truism in mind, we'd like to introduce you to the first annual Wise Marketer "Brilliant Simplicity" award, in which we nominate and then name the brand that introduces the most useful, customer-friendly reward option during a given calendar year. Our first nominee for 2016: Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.
We've nominated Carlson Rezidor and its Club Carlson loyalty programme for partnering with the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to offer Club Carlson members the opportunity to redeem programme points for TSA PreCheck screening. The reward is so obviously useful for Carlson's road warrior members that we're sure it will soon become one of the top redemption items in the programme.
Beginning July 1, Club Carlson members will be able to redeem 65,000 points to pay for the cost of the $85 PreCheck application fee. According to a report in Entrepreneur magazine, the reward came about from lengthy discussions between the TSA and Carlson that finally resulted in the hotel chain becoming the first brand to offer PreCheck application as a reward redemption item.
How did Carlson stumble upon an idea of such brilliant simplicity? By engaging in another brilliantly simple activity: listening to their customers. Money quote from Susan Peckenschneider, director of global partnerships for Carlson:
�Over the past year we�ve conducted insight sessions - via direct interview, surveys. A consistent theme was to make [the loyalty programme] more rewarding for them. We looked at competition and listened to member feedback. Outside of more ways to redeem points, they said, �help me with my travel experience...� We want our members to remain sticking with the programme and to come back to our brand, and the best way to do that is to offer rewards that are enticing, relevant and valuable to their travel experience."
Peckenschneider's comments reveal a truth that we often forget: at the end of the day, building customer loyalty doesn't have to be that complicated - simply listen to and respond to the needs of your best customers. Kudos to Carlson for becoming the first 2016 nominee of our Brilliant Simplicity award.
- Rick Ferguson