#501: MGM Resorts International - Leveraging Loyalty to Win Hearts and Minds

Today’s episode is available as a podcast on “Let’s Talk Loyalty” and in video format on www.Loyalty.TV.

This episode features another iconic brand – MGM Resorts!

Driving customer loyalty in the competitive entertainment industry is fascinating, and today you’ll hear the story of how MGM Resorts recently relaunched, re-branded and re-positioned their original loyalty program in order to meet the dramatically changing profile of visitors to Las Vegas.

Our guests are Anil Mansukhani, Vice President Loyalty Marketing and Beck Sundquist, the Vice President of Product Management at MGM Resorts International.

Enjoy the show!

Show Notes:

1) Anil Mansukhani⁠

2) Beck Sundquist

3) MGM Resorts⁠

4) MGM Rewards

5) Watch this episode at www,Loyalty.TV

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.

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Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV, featuring another iconic brand, MGM Resorts. Driving customer loyalty in such a competitive and varied industry has always been hugely fascinating to me. So today you’ll hear the story of how MGM Resorts relaunched, rebranded and repositioned their original loyalty programme in order to meet a dramatically changing profile of visitors to Las Vegas.

My guests are Anil Mansukhani, Vice President Loyalty Marketing, and Beck Sunquist, the Vice President of Product Management, both at MGM Resorts International. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

So Beck and Anil, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV. 

Beck: Thanks for having us, Paula.

Anil: Thank you. Great to be here. 

Paula: Great. It’s always a huge thrill for me when we have a brand like MGM Resorts featured on the show. I feel like we’re really achieving things that you’re sharing your time and your story of MGM Rewards with our audience. So thank you for being here. I know you’ve been on an incredible journey in the last couple of years. So we’re here to hear your insights in terms of what you’ve built, why you’ve built it that way, and so we can all learn from your incredible business. And yes, the whole casino sector to me is a very exciting one.

So let’s get straight into it with our favorite opening question. And Anil, I’m gonna come to you first as the Loyalty Program Manager. So I’m sure you pay a lot of attention to loyalty programs in your own life. So kick us off by telling our audience what is your personal favorite loyalty program?

Anil: That’s a tough one. I was given a lot of thought to this and I think I’ve spent a lot of time over the last three years flying on Southwest Airlines back and forth to Las Vegas as I, I live in Los Angeles and spend a fair amount of time in Las Vegas. And so I’ve gotten to really know the Southwest Airlines program and I’ve just been really impressed.

Full disclosure, they are a partner of ours, but regardless very much, impressed with how they’ve really evolved the whole customer experience, the mobile app and really always looking out for how to improve the program. The member experience, the member benefits as well, making it really flexible to self service for changes that, you know, their customers inevitably need to make. So, really been impressed by them, their journey. 

Paula: Great. Great. A good example, I think because yes, loyalty is not just a program. It is of course the whole brand. And I’ve heard so much wonderful things about Southwest over the years. Never as yet had a chance to fly with them. In fact, I haven’t even been in the US for a very long time. So I’ll try and figure that out at some point quite soon. And I would love to fly with Southwest. And again, shout out. I always do. If somebody answers with the brand we haven’t had on the show, if they ever wanna come onto Loyalty TV, we’d love to hear from them. So, that’s a great one. 

So, Beck from your side, tell us what would you say is your favorite loyalty program? 

Beck: Well, you’re not gonna believe this Paula, but I’m also gonna pick a partner and one that you’ve hopefully heard of Marriott Bonvoy. So I’m a long-time customer of both Marriott and SPG, and when they merged, it was incredibly convenient for me to merge those two loyalty accounts. 

Paula: Yes. 

Beck: So, and since then they’ve kind of really handled that transition well and made me as a customer happy, who was very nervous about it. And then the, where they’ve taken it since then has been fantastic for me as a personal consumer of it, so.

Paula: Amazing.

Beck: I’m, and my favorite is the lifetime status because I’ve actually been able to achieve Lifetime Gold and hoping to get to that next level in the next few years. So. 

Paula: Absolutely. And I will say certainly in this market, Beck and Marriott are doing an extraordinary job with the Bonvoy program as well. I only joined quite recently and I’m already a Gold member, so I’m very impressed with how that’s been managed. It’s been beautifully done, and I was laughing actually because my husband took out one of their credit cards again here in the UAE, and I have been literally supervising his spending to make sure he reaches the spending limits so that we get the hotel nights in a Marriott property because they have some amazing brands as you well know. So of course also Marriott we would love to have on the show at some point. So, great example and thanks for sharing that and looking forward to hearing more about that partnership as we go through today’s conversation.

So let’s get into your I suppose loyalty backgrounds. Anil first and foremost, you are leading the MGM Rewards Program. So would you tell us a bit about how you got to that role, first and foremost? And then, yeah, just a bit about MGM Resorts overall as a brand. 

Anil: Sure, absolutely. It’s definitely been a long and sometimes windy road to get to where we are today. But started out in the credit card industry working for Discover Card really focused on they’re really a pioneer of, at least in the credit card space around cash back for card members. And so one of the earlier adopters or innovators around, customer loyalty and in the credit card space.

And so really got great exposure to how they thought about loyalty and how they thought about different slips, slivers of cash back bonus, whether it’s for the core product or I even had the good fortune of being able to sort of design different products around the loyalty structure whether it was specifically targeted for travel enthusiasts or whether it was targeted towards small business owners or college students, etcetera. And so really got to play around with different sort of permutations and combinations of loyalty. 

That journey sort of evolved and kind of migrated into the technology space working for a startup division within Qualcomm, where we were delivering live television to people’s mobile devices, which in 2024 is not really considered an innovation, but in 2007 it was quite innovative. 


Anil: So we were very much ahead of our time and selling live subscription television and on, on your mobile device. And so I was responsible for CRM and one of my roles there. And so again, how do you drive acquisition? How do you drive customer engagement and retention? Very much part of the key to that role. And then sort of again, sort of did another pivot and moved into the hospitality industry and worked in the cruise industry for about eight years. 

Paula: Nice. 

Anil: For a variety of brands within the Carnival Corporation family, and spent a good chunk of my time there really obviously focused on revenue and marketing, but also on a real emphasis on guest experience where we sort of built out a new innovative platform around guest experience where you would have a wearable as you go across your cruise journey and it would do a lot of things for you. It would be effectively like Uber Eats and Google Maps.

Paula: Nice. Yeah. Cool.

Anil: And Netflix to some extent. So really focused on the customer being the center of that journey.

Paula: Lovely. Yeah.

Anil: And then most recently, the last three years have been leading the program for MGM. And so, yeah, very excited about what we’ve done these past three years and you know, look forward to telling you more about the launch of MGM Rewards and everything that we’ve done on the partnership front, et cetera, so.

Paula: Exactly, yes. Yeah. Yeah. I’ll be dying to get into the story and how it’s evolved. Because I feel like certainly three years is a very interesting point in many loyalty managers journeys in terms of like, you know, new energy, new propositions and evolving it because there is, I think, a natural maturity that comes through, which I think is exactly what you’ve been working on in terms of evolving it to the next phase of MGM Resorts. So really keen to hear that journey and backstory now as we go through the conversation. 

So Beck, give us a bit about your background and how did you end up in MGM? 

Beck: Yeah. So I’ve been, I started working at Best Buy around the time when everyone said that Amazon was going to destroy it. So being able to see a successful digital transformation has been very formative in how I’ve approached the rest of my career. So, then being a consultant primarily working with Walgreens as my client, who has one of the biggest loyalty programs in terms of breadth. But getting the depth there is something that they had a lot of focus on.

Paula: Okay. 

Beck: And then going to Volvo that had no loyalty program. 

Paula: Okay. 

Beck: And my roles were in product management. Primarily in e-commerce. So I ended up at Volvo owning global subscriptions. 

Paula: Wow. You mean?

Beck: As well as all online car sales. 

Paula: So Volvo, the Norwegian car brand, is it? 

Beck: Yes. 

Paula: Oh my goodness. 

Beck: So I would spend two weeks in Sweden. And two weeks in California. And fly back and forth and be gentle as you can imagine, I racked up a lot of permanent loyalty points doing these things. 

Paula: Yes. My father drives a Volvo, so I’m very I feel very good about that brand. But yes, I hadn’t really thought about it as an e-commerce brand.

Beck: I tried to get them to do a credit card actually, ’cause I knew how valuable that could be and yeah. So far, not yet, maybe. Maybe in the future. But then came to MGM with quite a few leaders from Volvo. And I have owned a lot of different technology products across MGM.

So, when we reopened after Covid was primarily running mobile check-in running our e-commerce. And then right around the time of Neil joined, I was asked to help with the relaunch of MGM Rewards as from the technology perspective. 

Paula: Amazing. Lovely.

Beck: So Neil and I have been kind of working together almost from the start of a Neil’s tenure and it’s been a great partnership from there. 

Paula: Amazing. Amazing. Yeah. No, honestly, I know you’ve been through doing so much evolution and that’s really what I think, again, a lot of programs are keen to do so to hear your story coming through, the other side and a successful, you know, technology transition is wonderful news for all of us. Of course. 

So, let’s hear a bit about the proposition, actually, Anil, just if you don’t mind, from your perspective I don’t know the breadth of the MGM Resorts portfolio. Or particularly I guess in terms of what loyalty was and is meant to do. So if you wouldn’t mind just talking us through the history a little bit as context.

Anil: And just maybe just for a little bit of context for some of your viewers that may not be as familiar with the MGM brand. I mean, we are definitely one of the world’s leaders in gaming and entertainment. So in the United States, we have over 20 properties. We also have a few properties in China. We have a development project in Japan, and we have another development project in your backyard, actually in Dubai. 

Paula: Yes, yes. 

Anil: So really extending our global reach of what we do well, which is gaming and entertainment. And so, that’s sort of the context for the company. And then in terms of where we came from we previously had a program that was called M Life. And M Life as you may or may not have be familiar with, was largely a slot players program. So we, again, being a very gaming center company, really zeroed down some of our core customers, which are our slot customers. And the program was very much designs for that core customer. 

I think as you may or may not be familiar with what’s happened in the Las Vegas market in particular over the last, you know, 15, 20 years, it’s always changing. And I think one of the big changes, or several of the big changes that have taken place is a real investment by the company in culinary experiences. So we’ve done a lot of partnerships with celebrity chefs. We’ve really, obviously we’ve always been known as a leader in entertainment. So we host some of the biggest names in, in the music industry at all of our properties and many of our properties.

And then the one that’s been sort of a more recent transition or change in the market is Las Vegas has really become quite well known for its interest in sports and so we’ve adopted, or I should say we, we grew the sports market from having the Las Vegas Golden Knights. So, and an expansion and a gel team that came here. We sort of benefited from the Raiders moving from Oakland to Las Vegas, and now we have Las Vegas race. So we have an NFL relationship. And then more recently the Oakland A’s announced that they’re gonna be moving their team to Las Vegas as well.

And so, you know, just professional sports are obviously now gonna be or have been sort of really key for the market. And then, you know, we just came off of in November, a huge event where we held Formula One racing all over the Las Vegas Strip and around the strip. And so that was a huge event for us.

Paula: Wow. 

Anil: You know, that obviously got global attention and then coming up next week. We’re gonna be hosting a Super Bowl, so, just you know, huge city-wide events, partnerships. And so we our content and programming calendar is very full. And so getting back to the story of the market has changed and the type of customer that comes to us, is quite different than it was maybe 20 years ago.

While we still obviously have a very core gaming customer at the heart of what we do. But we’ve really tried to change the program a little bit to attract more of that high value non gaming customer that comes to town for the weekend to watch their favorite awaits their team, their home team in football or in hockey, or they’re just a fan of a Formula One.

So we really again, leaned into sports very heavily over the last several years. And that’s really reflected in what we were trying to accomplish with the program. 

And so, I think there were sort of four main pillars to the change in the program. And so one was the branding of the program itself as you can see behind Beck and I, you know, we’re no longer referred to as M Life. We’ve changed it to MGM Rewards to more closely aligned brand with the loyalty program. So, we’ve seen some definite increases in awareness as a result of that branding change. But that was a massive effort in terms of like, every piece of collateral, every signage, every piece of media that we create to now promote MGM Rewards as the centerpiece of our consumer facing brand. So that was one of the big changes.

The other big changes and a lot of these changes just to get into it, were very much grounded in customer feedback. And we went out and surveyed our customers and asked, you know, what do you want out of a new program? And so a lot of the feedback they got, and we tried to understand what were some of those pain points. You know, they wanted greater access. They wanted greater recognition. They wanted better benefits. And so that’s what we really sought out to deliver was delivering on all on each of those different fronts. And so we wanted to understand or better understand our those high value non gaming customers and quite frankly, even some of our high value gaming customers just to really get to know them better.

And so, adopted a number of different things. So we created more ways to earn in the program. So for instance, yeah, in Las Vegas market, if you were a table games player, so if you were a blackjack player, if you’re a craps player. There wasn’t a financial incentive or where you know, for you to really participate. I mean, we obviously, if you’re a really high end player we end up, you know, providing you with hosts, et cetera. But in terms of the program perspective for that, maybe the, maybe a lower level player you know, to have some benefit for their table games play. And then we really wanted to reward people that were, you know, cash paying customers for their hotel rooms, their food and beverage spend, their spa spend. You know, we have these massive sprawling resorts that have a lot of different ways to engage with us. And so we wanted to increase you know, the opportunities to earn as part of the program.

And then, you know, one of the last things we did was really just around adding new benefits to the program. And so we introduced a lot of what we’re calling our key benefits. So we did things like we waived resort fees ’cause that was one of the pain points that we heard from our customers.

Paula: Great. Yeah. Yeah.

Anil: For our higher elite customers, Gold Plus. We also introduced an air travel credit where people if they met certain tier thresholds, we would effectively reimburse them for their trip to Las Vegas. 

Paula: Wow. Nice. 

Anil: And then we also provided a dining credit, so as people achieve different tier thresholds. You know, they would benefit from, you know, celebrating their, you know, recognizing them in terms of recognition.

Paula: Wow. 

Anil: And would give them a dining credit at one of our amazing you know, dining establishment. So, really lead into what we heard from customers, tried to deliver all of these great experiences. 

And then the other piece, which, you know, back, we’ll probably talk a bit more about our partnership with loyalty methods and what we did with replatforming part of the transition. 

Paula: Totally.

Anil: So that was another sort of phase two of the journey that we really spent a lot of time partnering together. Yeah. So yeah let back talk a little bit about that. 

Paula: Absolutely. Yeah. And I’ll just pick up on a couple of things, Anil. 

Anil: Sure.

Paula: Thank you for all of that context. Both you know, from a corporate perspective, the consumer journey and I suppose the evolution of the destination. And you alluded to the fact actually, and it might be news to a lot of people, but certainly you, the UAE is specifically developing the capabilities for brands like MGM Resorts, and I did see in the news that you guys are hoping to get a license. So there’s a wonderful Emirate just north of Dubai called Ras Al-Khaimah. And that’s where all of the resorts, the gaming resorts are gonna be located. So there’s great excitement in this part of the world about MGM coming to town. And even I was just thinking one of the extended members of our team has a background as a croupier. So if you need extra staff, we might be able to help you out there. So that’s just that piece as well.

Anil: I wanted to do, well, we’ll have to do another session of these on our property when we launch in a few years. 

Paula: Totally. Totally.

Anil: May, it may be a few years, but it yeah.

Paula: For sure. But the other thing genuinely Aniel, is just as a destination, actually I saw a presentation from Visit Dubai yesterday. And that’s of course, you know, given, you know, the profile that this city has, you know, my sense is and I’m sure this is just a global compliment, is I believe a lot of the inspiration for what Dubai has created has probably come from Vegas. You know, we’ve seen the Bellagio and, you know, the incredible fountains and the experience that people have, you know, and they can be entertained, as you’ve said in so many ways.

So, so I do think Dubai is really, you know, looking globally, but I really feel they look to Vegas for inspiration, whether it’s the sport piece or the gastronomy. So, yeah, lots in common. And please God, you guys will get to visit us here soon at some stage. 

Anil: Sounds great. Let’s tell. Great. I’ll book my ticket today down there.

Paula: Okay, we’re ready and waiting. We’re ready and waiting. And actually I’ll give a plug out to our other partners ’cause we are a media partner for Loyalty Connect. So if anybody is interested in coming to Dubai, there is a huge loyalty conference expecting about 3000 delegates at the end of April. So anybody who hasn’t looked up Loyalty Connect, maybe you guys can also come visit. So we’ll give them a bit of a shout out as well just because I mean, why not any opportunity to support each other. 

So Beck coming to you, that is an extraordinary proposition that Anil just outlined in terms of the breadth of what has been done. So a rebrand you know, like absolutely, I dunno how many different areas of the business moving from just the gaming piece, as Anil said, across dining, across experiences and spas. So it sounds incredibly complicated. So will you talk, tell us what was the journey like from a pure re-platforming perspective?

Because I know you did have a legacy technology, which I think was in-house. Probably doesn’t really matter, but again we’re all friends with the guys in loyalty methods and Anil was on the show recently, and he did say that the project in partnership with you guys was one of his proudest recent achievements. So tell us from your perspective how the whole process went. 

Beck: Yeah. So, if you listen to Anil, you know, as I was back in middle of 2021, it’s like, okay, so how do we make all this happen? Right? And MGM has been trying to do some of these things on and off in pieces the entire time. And one of the comments I heard from our CIO at the time is, well, if this was so easy, we would’ve done it 10 years ago. Right? 

Paula: True. Yes.

Beck:  Because they, that’s when these trends start to emerge. 

Paula: Yes. Sounds easy.

Beck: Yeah. So the first most important like cornerstone for this was finding the right partner. And Loyalty Methods emerged from a lot of partners that I had heard of. And Loyalty Methods was a new name for me. And we were very lucky to have met them. It sounds like Emil is a friend of the show. 

Paula: Yes. 

Beck: He’s also a friend of MGM, so. 

Paula: Okay, good. Oh, we’re all friends.

Beck: Like to think it’s a friend of mine. Yeah. So, so looking into it, right when we started, a lot of these systems were actually gaming regulated ’cause as Anil said, it was primarily focused towards the slot customer. So one of the key things that we were able to do with our architecture and engineering team, as well as our kind of government relations, gaming regulations teams is separate the loyalty system that is run by that’s the product from Loyalty Methods From the gaming regulators.

Paula: Oh cool. Yeah.

Beck: Which runs our whole gaming program and our theoretical and all these other gaming terms that your audience might not be familiar with. But that was the core unlock that allowed us to then start to treat non-gaming spend and loyalty towards that and integrate it with the gaming spend.

But then additionally, anything gaming regulated in the US has multiple different jurisdictions that need to approve any changes. So by being outside of that with our loyalty program and keeping the gaming stuff within that regulation as it should be. We’re able to make changes a lot more quickly than the companies that are relying only on a gaming regulated.

So doing that, and then also separating and kind of deferring some of the risks. So obviously there’s the marketing aspect of MGM Rewards, but doing the system transition is actually a big, almost accounting projects. So making sure all the transactions came across, making sure that we validated that getting all the reporting set up in the backend are all things that we had to think about as we’re trying to make what now is a great experience for the customers happen. It’s, you know, a lot of the guts of the systems of MGM that haven’t been looked at for a very long time and making sure that we can go and question every decision down the line that had been made. And make the changes and do the hard work to make this stuff work. The way that we want it to. 

Paula: Okay, so three years in the program’s live, you guys are working super closely together. How’s it all going? 

Beck: I mean, I would like to say it’s going great. 

Paula: Yeah. I’d love both of your perspectives. 

Beck: Yeah. And we’re starting to build on I mean, I think we’re starting to build on some of the success that we’re seeing and some of the customer feedback. But from technology perspective, we’re getting into a very exciting phase where we’re hitting the inflection point of a lot of the basic stuff is done, a lot of it’s working well. How can we do some of the fun stuff that delight, that delights our customers and really starts to differentiate us. But that’s on the technology and user experience side. 

Paula: Of course, but I think you said to me the last time, Beck, that you have managed to make it much more of an omni-channel experience, which given the diversity of the channels and you know, whether it’s online or offline, you do have you have had a lot to think about. So exciting that’s all ready now for the next phase of growth. 

Beck: We’re certainly working on it. And, we not only have omnichannel Digital, how can we get the digital to interact with the physical, of course. But then we also have other brands like BET MGM, that are running on the same loyalty platform. So how can we get those customers who are primarily interested in online gaming to become MGM customers and make it make the most sense and have us be the most attractive destination for them coming to Vegas. And vice versa, how can we use our loyalty program to drive growth of the BET MGM brand with all our kind of established database. So that’s also one of the interesting challenges that we’re working on this year and into the future. 

Paula: Of course. Of course. And Anil, from your perspective, I think there are some numbers that are in the public domain, so anything you can share in terms of, you know, how far you’ve come?

Anil: Yeah, I think so. Yesterday we in fact celebrated our second birthday of MGM Rewards. So the first year that I sort of came on was largely around getting the program launched. And so all of, all of the setup and all of the incredible collaboration that had to take place across a number of different functions.

And so, you know, two years in, I would echo a lot of what back set around. We’ve done a really nice job, I think, in building the foundation, the foundational layer of what we want the program to be. And then we’re now at a phase where we’re turning the corner a little bit and getting into more of the gamification and personalization capabilities that, the methods platform unlocks. And then we’re building in-house capabilities as well. Data science teams to help really understand our customers at a deeper level so that we ca again, more, more seamlessly communicate and personalize the experience. 

And so, you know, I think between the combination of what Back was just referring to in terms of our be MGM joint venture, as well as a lot of what we’re doing on the MGM side. You know, we’ve seen nice growth in enrollments. We’ve seen nice growth in overall the database size. We’ve grown by several million members. And so I think that, that those, in some cases, those are, you know, I, we sometimes we’ll call ’em, you know, sort of vanity numbers, but I think what we really tend to focus on is like, what’s the member satisfaction, what’s the NPS of our guests? And those numbers have definitely moved moved in the right direction, moved north. 

Paula: Brilliant. Yeah.

Anil: And so I think we, we’ve really, and you know, the journey is obviously ongoing and so we’re constantly listening for what members are telling us about the program and how do we make tweaks here and there? We know we didn’t, you know, get it right exactly right the first time.

And so we’re now at that phase where’re like, Hey, maybe we should rethink this. Maybe there’s an opportunity to reduce friction in the customer experience. And so, but overall, I think, you know, we’re pleased with the results, but there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of really making this customer experience more seamless. And that’s really the next phase that we’re really entering. 

Paula: Totally. Yeah. And certainly everybody has, you know, the clear laser focus on personalization as you’ve said. But I do know, you know, from all of us it’s always, well, first of all, an ongoing journey. The job will never be done in terms of doing it better. But yeah it’s a really important thing that just, you know, consumers expect now ’cause they know that you know, everybody’s focused on their business, their data, and the opportunity to really build relationships with them. 

The other piece I want to ask you about Anil was the recent news about the partnership with Marriott ’cause I know that’s very exciting for you. So can you tell the audience again, with people listening, you know, from the US all the way down to Australia and everywhere else in between. So tell us about that partnership. 

Anil: We’re very, very excited about the partnership. We, we, in fact, just officially sort of launched it a couple days ago, so it’s been a busy week between our anniversary of MGM Rewards and our partnership, and so very excited about that. Just to give you a quick context for you and your listeners around kind of how that came about, so we acquired a property in Las Vegas actually sort of adjacent next door neighbor to the Bellagio called The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. We acquired that a couple years ago. And as we sort of dug into the business a bit more detail about like how do they drive a lot of their business and one of their key, you know, key pieces of their business was through their Marriott Bonvoy partnership, which they had for 10 years.

Paula: Wow. 

Anil: Prior to our acquisition. And so as we really dug into that partnership, we were really impressed with the type of customer that the Marriott Bonvoy member delivers to the property. And so, we started to engage with them and talk more about, you know, how do we expand this partnership beyond The Cosmopolitan and potentially bring it across our entire portfolio of properties within MGM.

Paula: Wow. 

Anil: And so, that journey began well over a year and a half ago. And Beck and I were definitely very early on in that journey. And so as we talk through all of the different aspects of it, because candidly, it’s a lot, it’s a lot wider of a partnership than a loyalty partnership. It really is fundamentally a distribution partnership first, where any Marriott Bonvoy member that can, that sort of interacts with their digital channels or their contact centers and are looking at, are interested in Las Vegas market will soon have access to our entire domestic portfolio. And so really, really huge partnership. 

Paula: Nice. 

Anil: And then from a loyalty perspective you know, we’ve been engaged with the Marriott team for well over a year on what we want to do for our respective members.

And so, you know, we’ve just recently announced the fact that for MGM Rewards members, they’ll have the ability to effectively link their accounts to their Marriott Bonvoy account or create a Marriott-Bondoy account if they don’t have one. And then depending on their tier status, they can tier match into, you know, elevated status and get access to benefits at you know, 10,000 Marriott-Bondoy properties. So really nice benefit for our members. 

And then coming soon, later this year we’ll also enable both sets of members to be able to transfer points back and forth between programs. And so another nice amenity for people maybe that are trying to use use their points and for, at either set of properties for you know, redeeming against their, the cost of their trip. So really excited about the partnership. We’re literally just launched two days ago, so.

Paula: Wow. 

Anil: We’ve signed a 20 year agreement. So this is very much.

Paula: Wow. 

Anil: A marriage. And we’re gonna look to evolve the partnership, but really excited about the potential for what it that has for both parties.

Paula: You totally blown my mind, Anil, you know, like I’m trying to, you know, make sure that instead of having like one year partnerships like I might have done in the past to move to three years, so it hadn’t even occurred to to, to me, to ask for a 20 year deal. So well done to both MGM Resorts on the two year of course, anniversary and birthday of MGM Rewards. That’s a huge milestone. The extra couple of million members he casually mentioned there as well. And of course, to partner with a brand like Marriott Bonvoy. 

Which, you know, sometimes I often think starts off as, you know, you think about sometimes, you know, competition from a brand that’s that strong. But actually yeah, everybody joining together and giving the maximum, particularly on the status side, I’m definitely a status chaser. So I think I said to Beck, I’m already you know, the Gold on Marriott Bonvoy, so clearly I will be when MGM Resorts comes to Ras Al Khaimah. So I’m very excited. 

Anil: Great. I’ll be spending many more vacations at Marriott Properties. And I’ve been a member for many years. I just haven’t been as active of a member as I think we will be going forward as now being part of the family soon.

Paula: Amazing. Amazing. Well, listen, guys, we’re coming to the end of today’s conversation. I’m thrilled to hear you know how much has been achieved in the first three years of you know, from concept to the whole relaunch, the re-platforming, and as you’ve said, announcing now moving into increased focus on everything from gamification, personalisation, and the next phase of your growth. From our side of course, we’d love to have you back on Loyalty TV on a regular basis just to make sure that we keep our audience up to date on everything that you’re doing. As I said, I’ve always admired, you know, the whole scene and how well Las Vegas does take care of its customers. So service is always exceptional. So it’s amazing to see the breadth of what you’ve created with this new program. 

So, with that said, from my side, I’d love to come to, I suppose, maybe Beck, first of all any closing words of wisdom, any thoughts on what the future holds? Or any shout outs you want to give either for, you know, the work you guys are doing or, yeah, just any closing thoughts. 

Beck: Well, first I’d to give a shout out to my team, the engineering team. And the product and design team that made this all happen. We have some key leaders as well who have been extremely supportive of the program and me personally. So, none of this is possible without that support and that hard work from our team who, you know, started at midnight last night to turn the program year over and work through the day. So, I mean, just amazing effort and amazing team. It’s first and foremost.

Paula: Nice. 

Beck: And then on top of that, I think this year is gonna be a very transformative year for MGM Rewards and how our customers experienced the program. A lot of very big initiatives. One that we didn’t get to mention what was integrating The Cosmopolitan Identity Program in MGM Rewards, are happening this year as well as Marriott, which launched yesterday.

Paula: Wow. 

Beck: So huge progress, positive progress for our customers and for our company. Yeah. I just couldn’t be more excited for MGM Rewards and its future. 

Paula: Indeed. It sounds like a lot done, a lot more to do Beck, so yeah, definitely exciting and busy times. And Anil, coming to you. What are your kind of closing thoughts? 

Anil: Yeah, I, well, I would echo Beck’s sentiment around. I would also like to thank Beck’s team and also thank my team as well for all the work that they’ve done. But candidly, like, I think one of the lessons learned for us is like this isn’t just about technology and the program like this takes an entire company, both at the executive level support to do something like we’ve done it and also across a multitude of different departments to help pull off an effort that we have over the last couple years.

I think, you know, from a, the perspective of the program itself, you know, in terms of what I would tell your what your listeners what they would benefit from it’s really listen to your members and, you know, they will tell you what’s wrong with your program and they will tell you what’s right with your program. 

Paula: Yes. 

Anil: And how to fix it in some cases. And so I just, you know, encourage your listeners to listen to the members. And then I think the other lesson in this sort of digital transformation and just overall program transformation is, you know, change is never easy. And so, yeah, expect that there will be friction and roller coaster ride along the way and like that, don’t be surprised by that. It’s not easy. 

And then the other piece of it is, it takes time as much as my team and Beck’s team and other members of MGM obsess about the program. You know, our members aren’t as engaged as we are on a day-to-day basis with the program, although some members are. But you know, so it is really, there has to be the patience to really continue to educate your members and continue to get them engaged in the program. And so I think just having that patience, but having that really firm commitment on having that, the educational content throughout the customer life cycle and reinforcing benefits and reinforcing program changes and all that, all critical things.

But I mean, just to close, I think we’re really excited is, as Beck mentioned about what lies ahead for the program and what we, what we can offer. I mean, we have an amazing portfolio of experiences and really connecting that even more so with the program. I think we’re just in the early innings of that, once we really start to dive into again, some of the personalization and gamification capabilities that we’re gonna really turn on and in full force this year. But I appreciate the opportunity to speak with your audience. 

Paula: Indeed. Absolutely. Well, plenty of passion, plenty of opportunity, plenty of ambition. So really well done guys. So Anil Mansukhani, and Beck Sundquist, thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV.

Anil: Thanks Paula.

Beck: Thanks Paula.

Paula: This show is sponsored by Wise Marketer Group, publisher of The Wise Marketer, the premier digital customer loyalty marketing resource for industry relevant news, insights, and research. Wise Marketer Group also offers loyalty, education and training globally through its Loyalty Academy, which has certified nearly 900 marketeers and executives in 49 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.

For global coverage of customer engagement and loyalty, check out thewisemarketer.com and become a wiser marketer or subscriber. Learn more about global loyalty education for individuals or corporate training programs at loyaltyacademy.org.

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