In a continued effort to increase engagement across channels, some hotel brands are reaching out and forming new partnerships to increase the value of a customer through the digital lifecycle.
The latest advance on the loyalty front comes from MGM Resorts‘ Mlife loyalty program. MGM has partnered with Visa and TopguestÂ to enhance the program’s value to increasingly social and mobile users.
Members will now be able to add Visa cards to their Mlife accounts, enrolling them into Mobile Offers tied to their cards. For example, if a member purchases a hotel stay with an enrolled card, targeted special offers will be pushed to their mobile phones – say a special discounted ticket to a show, with an advance purchase option.
If a member completes a transaction nearby to one of the MGM properties, they may be targeted with relevant deals nearby. This not only provides value to the guest as they navigate their vacation experience, but also allows MGM to pull guests back into the resort’s orbit should they stray too far off the MGM path.
Not that MGM’s orbit doesn’t already encompass most of Vegas, as MGM’s announcement subtly suggests:
“While shopping in Las Vegas with their enrolled Visa card, members may receive offers relevant to their interests. Ticket purchases for Bellagioâ€™s exquisite â€śOâ€ť by Cirque du Soleil may trigger an offer for a pre-theatre dinner at the resortâ€™s renowned restaurant Le Cirque; a retail purchase at ARIA could result in an unbeatable deal on designer jeans at ARIA Menâ€™s, or rejuvenating at the spa may prompt an offer to use that new-found energy at a nightclub.”
As far as social sharing incentives, MGM has partnered with industry pioneer TopguestÂ to offer loyalty rewards to members for sharing across social media via online and mobile.
The sheer scale of MGM makes this a noteworthy partnership, as member guests can now receive points via the Mlife mobile app for all kinds of activities across the dozen-plus MGM resorts and casinos.
The app allows members to find events, get directions, keep tabs on slot jackpots, connect to concierges and to check in across networks to get points.
Members who link their social media accounts will receive 500 M life Tier Credits when they virtually check in with Facebook Places or Foursquare, post a location-tagged tweet to Twitter, or share an Instagram photo from participating MGM venues.
Members can earn 500 Tier Credits per resort per day. In Las Vegas, they can earn up to 6,000 credits by visiting all 12 properties in a day, with a maximum of 7,500 Tier Credits per quarter and 30,000 per year.
Bill Hornbuckle, Chief Marketing Officer for MGM Resorts International, talks more about the strategic value of these partnerships:
â€śThrough these strategic marketing relationships, weâ€™ve enabled M life to identify and reward engaged members, whether they are at one of our resorts or interacting with us on their mobile phones and social networks,â€ť . â€śThese new relationships enhance membersâ€™ travel experiences, recognize their loyalty and reward them for it.â€ť
Amidst all of these developments with travel industry loyalty schemes – such as the growing third-party industry that helps users track their various loyalty balances – how can loyalty programs maintain their value to members?
The commodification of loyalty points seems to suggest a tectonic shift in the way that such programs are viewed by both companies and their most loyal customers. Rather than being straightforward programs that reward their most ardent and frequent customers, they have become lifestyle marketing engines to encourage support across all tiers.
What does it mean for the true big spenders that often account for a significant portion of travel revenues if anyone can become a high-flying VIP by earning points for actions beyond a straightforward purchase? Only time will tell, but it’s definitely something brands should consider as they craft their loyalty programs to appeal to a wider swath of customers.