#442:How Sandman Hotel Group delivered Digital Transformation with RSVP Rewards (Short Summary Show)

In this weeks episode of Let’s talk “a little” loyalty Tom reviews the original podcast where Paula was joined by Fiona McFaul, the Vice President of Marketing and Loyalty for the Sandman Group.

RSVP Rewards is one of Canada’s best kept secrets!  Listen in to hear how Sandman Hotels  completed a dramatic digital transformation of their loyalty program.

Sandman Hotels is part of the Northland Properties group, a family business that operates an impressive portfolio of businesses including restaurants, resorts, sports teams and hotels!

Show Notes:

1) Fiona McFaul

2) ⁠Sandman Group⁠

3) RSVP Rewards

4) #251: Digital Transformation with RSVP Rewards from the Sandman Hotel Group

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m Paula Thomas, the founder of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Today’s episode is hosted by Tom Peace, Managing Director of the Loyalty People, a strategic consultancy with a laser focus on loyalty, CRM, and customer engagement.

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Tom: Hi, I’m Tom Peace, Managing Director of The Loyalty People and presenter of Let’s Talk A Little Loyalty. In this week’s episode of Let’s Talk A Little Loyalty, I’m reviewing the original podcast where Paula spoke to Fiona McFaul, the Vice President of Marketing and Loyalty for the Sandman Group.

RSVP Rewards is one of Canada’s best kept secrets, listening to hear how Sandman hotels completed a dramatic digital transformation of their loyalty program. Previous to Fiona joining the business, Sandman Hotels ran loyalty through an old fashioned stamp card program called Lucky 13, where 12 nights booked gave you 12 stamps and your 13th night free.

Operationally, this was great to manage for the business, but of course, there are some significant challenges in terms of fraud and data usage. Fiona talks through how important it was for the brand to find a solution that enabled Sandman to recognize their customer and understand their traveling habits so they could form a relationship with the member.

The program was built with this in mind, but also with two other key objectives. Firstly, As Sandman Hotels is part of the wider Northland Properties Group, including restaurants, resorts, sports teams and other hotels, it was very important to build brand awareness for Sandman and create strong brand identity within the group.

Secondly, Fiona needed to create the new loyalty strategy as an umbrella programme that other brands in the group could eventually bring their customers into. This is a challenging objective since Fiona needed to consider the wider needs of the group whilst maximizing the opportunity for Sandman Hotels.

Fiona approached this by defining the brand identity for each brand in the group and setting loyalty as the icing on the top, as she says. This is absolutely the right strategy, and I always advocate making sure that any business works on their core customer proposition before they build any sort of customer engagement or loyalty program on top.

Fiona talks about how the brand understood that data collection was an issue with a stamp card. But actually, it’s very refreshing to hear how the brand was originally focused on how the data would be used. From conception, Fiona was focused on how customer information could be surfaced to the front of house staff, so that they could make sure that members enjoyed all of their member perks.

It’s great to see this focus on how to use The data rather than just collect it. So once the strategy had been completed for Sandman hotels, the next step was to think about how this could be successfully expanded to other brands in the group. And once again, Fiona is well prepared with her strategy focused on employees and partnerships.

The former focused on making sure that all hotel staff were advocates of the program so that they could evangelize the customers and support adoption of the program. Partners were also vital and Fiona needed big players that could expand with the program to other brands in the portfolio over time. Visa being a perfect partner for launch.

This was a real education in how to approach a very complex loyalty strategy and absolutely get it right. Well done Fiona and the team at Sandman Hotels. You can find the main show at www dot letstalkloyalty.com. Which first aired on the 14th of July, 2022. Episode number 235.

Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed my summary. Show all the best, and speak to you soon. Tom.

Paula: This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer, the world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news, insights, and research. The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which is already certified over 500 executives in 38 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals. For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org

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