SessionM Helps Hotel Loyalty Programs Go Mobile

BOSTON—Increasingly, hotel guests are demanding more options, lower prices and greater flexibility, and still, their loyalty to a particular brand is not a guarantee. Hotels seeking to deepen their relationship with their customers are making efforts to meet them where they are—looking at their mobile devices.

Helping hotel brands make the shift is Boston-based SessionM, a provider that integrates and automates mobile marketing with personalization and data management. In essence, hotels can now connect and communicate with their guests via mobile devices before, during and after their stay.

“Our core product handles a wide array of services including identity management, which is what a lot of clients we’re working with in the hospitality space are interested in, so that includes the ability to create and manage profiles in the cloud in a way that allows a number of independent groups inside of an organization to access that profile as well as store information against that profile that is unique to that organization,” said John Hutchison, director of enterprise solutions for SessionM.

“When we think about how this applies to the hospitality chains, for example, let’s say I own 10 properties and each of those properties has their own website and mobile apps … our platform will house and create a profile for a guest, so all managing groups or marketing groups overseeing all the properties has access to a single user.”  

In addition, hotels can dig deeper and utilize SessionM to understand the specific preferences of the guest to better personalize their offerings, such as preferred discounts and room upgrades, and intelligently customize their advertising based on the information provided by the guest to the brand’s loyalty program.

“They have guest information that is common across all the properties—name, email, address, gender, etc.—and each individual property can now access the preferences a guest has stated for that property in ways that matter to that property,” explained Hutchison. “If I want to market to a guest for a chainwide piece of marketing, I have that profile available and if a specific property wants to run marketing campaigns, they know how to personalize and target those campaigns relevant to the profile that is stored for that property.”

For hotels, moving loyalty programs over to mobile is a natural progression of the times as new technology innovations such as mobile key and mobile messaging continue to push the boundaries of what’s to be expected during a hotel stay. In addition, mobile integration platforms can help raise the loyalty program’s visibility; drive customer engagement; offer flexibility in methods of communication; and personalize the experience for guests—not to mention real-time data analysis on guest behavior.

“Hotel chains are experiencing the same thing that every brand is, which is our lives as consumers is increasingly revolving around this little device we have in our hand that we’re checking many times per day,” shared Hutchison. “There is just this expectation for consumers around what our mobile experience should be. This is the way we’re going to experience the world. The ability to look at my phone and gather information is par for the course and it’s expected of brands at this point.”

The hotel industry is seeing an increase in the ability for messaging to be personalized and pertinent to the traveler and that can strengthen the hotel-to-guest relationship, according to Hutchison.

“What drives connections between brands and consumers is providing content that is relevant to what I care about. Drive value to me as a guest and not just from marketing,” he said.

—Corris Little