#489: Omni Hotels and Resorts - Loyalty Insights from a Luxury Brand

Today’s episode is available in audio format on Let’s Talk Loyalty.com and on www.Loyalty TV.

Today, we are meeting Josh Belkin, Vice President, Loyalty and Customer Engagement at Omni Hotels & Resorts.

This hotel brand operates more than 50 luxury hotels and resorts in leading business gateways and leisure destinations across North America, including exceptional golf and spa retreats, as well as some dynamic business settings.

In this episode, Josh shares details of the evolution and recent re-launch of Omni’s “Select Guest” loyalty program and some of the major changes they’ve implemented and why.


Show notes:

1) Josh Belkin

2) Omni Hotels & Resorts

3) Select Guest

4) Watch this episode at www.LoyaltyTV.com

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. Today we’re meeting Josh Belkin, Vice President of Loyalty and Customer Engagement at Omni Hotels & Resorts. It’s a hotel brand that operates more than 50 luxury hotels and resorts in leading business gateways and leisure destinations across North America, including exceptional golf and spa retreats, as well as some dynamic business settings.

Josh shares details of the evolution and recent relaunch of their Select Guest Loyalty Program and some of the major changes they’ve implemented and why. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

So Josh Belkin, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV. 

Josh: Glad to be here. 

Paula: Great stuff. I know there is a select group of our previous guests that are part of your very close professional network, Josh. So I’m really pleased to have the opportunity for you to join the alumni club today of amazing loyalty professionals, mainly in the US. I think but people that I know whose paths have crossed with you. So very excited to hear everything you’ve been working on until now. And of course, particularly with the new project that you literally launched less than 10 days ago. So thank you for making time for us at this crazy busy time.

As you know, we always start our conversations asking our guests about their favorite loyalty programs, given that we’re here to pick people’s brains and share all of the insights. So I think we gave you a heads up, of course, and I know you listen to the show. So why don’t you kick us off by telling us what is your favorite loyalty program?

Josh: I’m absolutely a huge fan of Costco, the warehouse club. I admire so many things about their business and I find it really just magnetic as a consumer. I’ve read they have renewal rates over 90%. So they’re certainly doing something right. And for me, it provides that great blend of functional benefits.

You’re getting good value for money paid. They have a very generous return policy, but it’s about that emotional experiential benefit, too. And I think that’s something that good loyalty programs get well, right? Is that balance between functional and emotional? And, you know, for me at Costco it’s the adventure of, you know, you go through the store there’s samples and it’s like a treasure hunt to find new items that you can’t live without.

And, you know, I’m amazed the Instagram accounts, people have the TikTok fan accounts of just all the great things they find at Costco people. Genuinely have an emotional connection with that brand. And, you know, I can’t get out of there for less than a hundred dollars, but if I’m walking out of there with a five dollar rotisserie chicken, I still feel like I’m winning and I’m keen to go back, even though I’m spending a ton of money.

Paula: A hundred percent. You know, I’m actually laughing Josh, because I was just back home in Ireland for a couple of weeks for the for the holidays. And we don’t have Costco, unfortunately, but I went into, I suppose, you know, an equivalent type of store and like that, I actually just went in to, to pick up some fruit and I came out, let me tell you with a handheld steamer, which I then had to fly back to Dubai.

I’m just like, how did I end up buying this? I had absolutely no intention of this kind of purchase. So you’re right. Costco has nailed something absolutely extraordinary both in terms of their range and obviously that experience, you know. Like going to the grocery store is not the most fun thing in my week. Thank God. But I, it sounds like Costco definitely has a lot to offer. 

And I liked the fact that you’ve said, you know, the emotional side is actually an adventurous emotion. Cause we, you know, when I think about the classic definition, especially in your industry and hospitality, the emotional piece is much more around probably the human connection. And obviously it’s more emotive, but actually adventure is also a very valid experience. So, so thanks for highlighting that. So I think you heard that episode. We did of course have that as well as Sam’s Club on on Let’s Talk Loyalty not so long ago. 

Josh: Absolutely. 

Paula: Amazing. Great stuff. So Josh, we’re off to a fantastic start. I am intrigued equally by what you’re doing now, but of course, by what you’ve been doing until now. So for the sake of our global audience, of course, we’ll be linking to your LinkedIn profile, but talk us through your dare I say credentials and how did you get to this wonderful role? So tell us what you’ve been working on until now.

Josh: Absolutely. So I guess loyalty and I go way back. I always liked numbers as a kid and I loved travel as a kid growing up. And I’ve always been fascinated by consumer psychology. So becoming, I guess, a points and loyalty geek is just the logical next step when those are your areas of passion. I’ve always loved you know, the thrill of, you know, maximizing what you can get out of a loyalty program and finding those outsized value or outsized redemptions. And I’ve long been probably like many of your listeners, the go to resource for your friends and family on how do I redeem this? How do I make the most of that? So it’s always been a fun topic for me. 

And I remember as a teenager getting on a cross country flight here in the US and getting upgraded because of the loyalty program being like, wow. This is really cool. And it took me a few years later to realize you could turn that actually into a career, which I did.

So I started my career in finance and then went on to do an MBA and then from there worked in big three strategy consulting. And when I was in strategy consulting, you’re always on the road. You’re traveling with your team. And in your 20s you lived for all the points that went along with that. So we had dinner as a team multiple nights a week. And when we had these team dinners, we had a tradition that whoever the most junior person was at the table had first read a refusal to pay the dinner bill so they could get the credit card points. 

Paula: Oh, I love that! Yeah.

Josh: And It was always a thing because everyone was just excited about that and building their balances to fuel for your leisure travel later, being able to to go explore and travel. So during that time, I really saw firsthand how loyalty programs shaped behavior and decision making both overall as well as those marginal decisions that can be impacted as well. 

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s the first time anybody’s talked about the collective almost initiation of a junior member of team into the the true power of being a collector, because at the end of the day, chasing status takes time, of course, but there’s an immediate win and incredibly generous of you guys to, to, to notice that and create that opportunity for somebody who hasn’t got that, like that feeling that I remember the first time I got Josh, I can tell you have it as well, but It’s just like, I feel like a bit of a junkie.

Josh: Yes.

Paula: It’s just like going, Oh my God, these points are so cool. It’s like free stuff. 

Josh: It’s very addictive. 

Paula: It is very addictive. Wonderful. So big three consulting, very exciting. I think I saw Harvard business school for the MBA. Am I right? 

Josh: I did. I was very fortunate to go there. I had a great couple of years of experience and it it, it really has helped open doors to do a lot of great things in my career.

Paula: I’m sure. Okay. Okay. And then after the finance work, where did you work? I know it was a big one. So tell us about what you’ve been doing for the past decade. 

Josh: Yeah. So after consulting, I spent about 10 years at Expedia Group the big online travel agency, holding a variety of different marketing roles. Some of the roles I held there included brand marketing for the Hotels.com brand. And one of the big ahas and learnings for me there was, you know, the importance of building an emotional connection to balance really a highly transactional nature of that category of online travel. And then a lot of those learnings around, you know, finding that right balance between short term and long term and emotional and transactional had a lot of relevance in translating into loyalty.

So, I’ve later went on to also run the Hotels.com Rewards Program, and then later the Expedia Rewards Program, and really carrying forward a lot of those principles of balancing the transactional nature with the emotional tie in and connection. And then before I left Expedia I worked on their new consolidated loyalty program, which recently launched as well, and setting that up for cross brand earn and burn.

But then nine, nine months ago, I joined Omni Hotels and Resorts in Dallas, Texas, and really saw it as an interesting opportunity to go. Make changes in, in that brand and with their loyalty program, because it’s such a cool canvas they have given the nature of that portfolio of properties.

Paula: Wonderful. Yeah. And I like that word that you used of canvas, you know, you know, to have that opportunity. And I guess, you know, you said last time we spoke, for example, that there really is a genuine belief in the role that you’re in now in the power of loyalty and what it can do for the the Omni Hotels and Resorts brand.

So for those who don’t know what Josh, I know it’s a beautiful luxury group but perhaps you’d give a more detailed understanding for people who are not familiar with Omni. 

Josh: Absolutely. So, Omni Hotels & Resorts is a privately held, family owned company based in Dallas, Texas. We have 50 full service hotels and resorts across North America. And I’d say they’re all unique in, in interesting ways. They’re all spaces and places that really make you feel like you’re in that destination. You know, they’re they have our warm, genuine hospitality from our associates there and really provides a nice experience. 

We have a variety of different types of properties. We have convention hotels were really big into group meetings as part of our business. We have historic city center hotels. We have suburban hotels and then we have a great collection of resorts, including America’s oldest resort, the Omni Homestead, which is in the mountains in Virginia. It’s from the 1700s.

Paula: Wow.

Josh: It goes back. 

Paula: Wow. 

Josh: But then we have one of America’s newest resorts, which is the one behind me, PGA Frisco outside Dallas, which is a massive new modern home of golf. So we run the gamut and they’re all they’re all great properties. 

Paula: Okay. Wow. Well, certainly I do love a historic property particularly, and I’m not a golfer, so I know which of your hotels I’m going to immediately start aspiring to come and stay in. So, so thanks for giving that that, that introduction, I suppose, to the overall, I suppose, positioning of Omni Hotels. I think we said to you, we do have a huge audience in the US, but also in the UK and Australia, Asia, and everywhere around the world. And so, brilliant to be able to help you build that global brand recognition.

And I’d love to get a sense, I suppose the next obvious question is the role of loyalty for the hotels and resorts as well. So would you take us back? I think you said you’re there now just coming up on maybe 10 months, but what’s the history of loyalty for the hotels and resorts? 

Josh: Absolutely. So the Omni Select Guest Loyalty Program started back in 1989, and it hasn’t really had a material update for about 10 years. So there was a desire in our business as the portfolio of properties had changed. We’ve done new builds, more focus into resorts. The mix between business travel and leisure travel has changed to have a loyalty program that really keeps up with the changing customer and also the changing business on our side.

One thing that’s really unique about Omni is we are a vertically integrated hotel company. We are the owner, we are the brand, we are the operator. It’s our people in the hotels, running them, delivering the experience and our culture and people truly are a differentiator as a result. 

So that opens up enormous opportunities for loyalty. We don’t need to go convince 7,000 franchisees to go make a change. It’s our people, it’s our operation. So we can move very quickly. And that’s exactly what we did in this case. 

Paula: Okay. So why did it need to, to change? I mean, sometimes consistency, simplicity, but of course the industry is evolving dramatically, but you know, I’d love to just understand the value proposition, I guess, until the end of 2023 and then what’s happening now in 2024.

Josh: Absolutely. So our program up until the end of 2023 was purely frequency based. The way you are in status and the way you earned rewards was purely based on how many nights you stayed period. And for a brand like ours, where we have resorts, where you can go spend a week there and do a ton of things outside of your room, golf, spa dining, and we’re in all of those businesses. 

Our loyalty program was silent to that so you could go be a business traveler and spend two nights a week in Houston. You could go be a leisure travel traveler and spend two nights on a weekend at one of our resorts. Very different spend profiles, very different user behavior and repeat patterns, but we treated them exactly the same in the old program.

So we wanted to essentially reward our guests based on their spend as a way to also encourage and celebrate doing more in our hotels. We know our loyalty customers stay more, they pay more, they’re up, they’re buying upgraded rooms, they’re spending outside the room, they’re happier, they cost less to serve because they come direct to us.

Who doesn’t want more of those customers in their business, right? But we weren’t having a program that was structured to really, truly incent that behavior and recognize it. So we really wanted to make a shift from a pure frequency based model to something that was more value or spend based that we thought was fair, transparent to the customer. But also really allows us to even better recognize those top customers of ours. 

Paula: Amazing. And was that feedback or an understanding before you came in, Josh? I mean, I’m thinking about obviously that they brought you in a heavy hitter, somebody with them extraordinary expertise. Did they know what wasn’t working or did they just know it needed to be better?

I’d love to understand the, as you came in to that kind of blank canvas, as you said, you know, have delivered on this vastly different proposition for your customers. But was that something that the awareness was there, or did you have to go out and kind of really figure that out when you started?

Josh: The awareness was there. I mean, there was certainly a desire I know before my arrival to, to elevate the role of loyalty in the business. And this was coming, you know, through the COVID years, the travel world was changing, patterns were changing. And there was definitely a knowledge of we need to do something different to really raise this up and find it as a new dimension, a new way to compete in the business.

When I came in you know, I was able to put fresh eyes on. What are maybe the mechanics we need or what are some of the functions or features we need to put in to drive those incremental behaviors? You know, like anyone designing a loyalty program, of course, you want to make sure you’re rewarding incremental new behaviors and not just innate behavior and putting more money on top of it.

Paula: Exactly.

Josh: So, being able to understand that, super important. I mean, one of the things I did in my first weeks and months was talk to customers and listen to our top members and all of our members on what works well and what wasn’t. And that really led to the tenets of how we built the specific strategy and proposition, which I’m sure we’ll get deeper into in the conversation. But that was really a big part of what we were trying to do in those early months. 

Paula: Amazing. Yeah. And always of course, great practice to go and actually ask customers, you know, it it’s not always rocket science to go out and say to people, what do you like, what don’t you like? So I do know that you put a lot of time and effort into paying attention to that.

And also, I think we talked offline about the incredible number of associates that work across the various properties. You might give our audience a sense of that. Cause it blew me away. Just how many people you have in the business. 

Josh: Absolutely. We have about 20,000 associates across all of our properties. So it is a labor intensive business because that’s what it takes to provide the personalized service. And you know, my, my probably favorite group of associates. If I can say that is our loyalty ambassadors. We have a, at least one dedicated person at every single property whose job is to take care of our members pre arrival and during their stay to make sure that their preferences are met.

And you know, for example, for our top members, when you arrive, what kind of room do you like? What do you like to drink? What kind of snacks do you like? It’ll be sitting there waiting in the room when you arrive. And that, that personalized service is something we heard from our members. Don’t touch. If you’re going to change the program, don’t touch that. We love that. It is such a differentiator. And I think it really speaks to true hospitality. 

Paula: Yes, it does. You know, I’m smiling here, Josh, because I’m hosting a panel discussion next week, actually at a loyalty event here in Dubai. And everyone I’ve spoken to has said, nobody’s doing personalization, especially hyper personalization. But I think I’ve just heard you say that you are. 

Josh: I think we are in a lot of different ways and it’s you know, technology is great and it does a lot of great things, but in some ways there’s no replacement for the genuine hands on hospitality as well. 

Paula: For sure. For sure. We all have those little things, you know, that really actually make the difference and that you know the brand is paying attention. So to your point about being the nerdy person who everybody in the family goes to for advice. And, you know, if you could actually have those wonderful experiences of saying, this is what blew my mind, that is what I’m hearing coming through in terms of what your loyalty ambassadors are doing. So, a wonderful strategy, and at scale, so more than 20, 000 associates is an amazing number of people to get involved.

So that’s a specific area. I always do wonder about Josh. And again your background is so strong in the e-commerce side, I’m guessing it’s quite a different set of challenges now in the physical world, in hospitality, as you’ve said, it’s labor intensive, and there’s clearly the right resources there.

Tell us about just, you know, the staff involvement in the program, both historically and obviously now with the evolution, and we’ll obviously talk through exactly what that new proposition looks like. But I’m very curious. We just had some great conversations today about the role of employees in general and how to keep them trained. So I’d love to know, I suppose, both, you know, up till now and going forward with this with this relaunch, how do you manage to to really keep, you know, that number of people inspired, engaged, and educate about what you’re doing on the loyalty side. 

Josh: Absolutely. So yeah, I have a small but mighty loyalty team here at our at our corporate office. And you know, the team’s worked on with me the strategy and the economics of the new program. But we have one person on the team whose sole job is to go hotel to hotel training our loyalty ambassadors to make sure that last mile delivery of the program is consistent and we’re getting everything we want out of the program and that our members are enjoying all the benefits they expect.

So in my mind, you can have a great loyalty proposition, but if you can’t consistently deliver it, something that’s a positive could become a detractor for a guest who’s expecting something. They shouldn’t have to ask for benefits that have been promised to them or marketed to them. 

So, and then loyalty ultimately is, and I know I’m preaching to the choir here with this audience. It’s the ultimate team sport, right? It cuts across the entire organization. So doing this transformation over the last nine months, you know, really getting it going. You know IT, finance, marketing, our HR teams, I mean, it touches every corner of the organization. And it’s, it really brought everybody together.

What was so cool was we didn’t have to convince anybody. This is the right thing to go do, or we need to change loyalty program. Everyone’s on board on the power of loyalty. It really became about how do we leverage our systems, tools, processes, and people to make this big change. 

Paula: Amazing. So tell us about the change. You’ve given us the the historic value proposition in terms of the frequency, as you said, that wasn’t cutting it anymore. And, you know, not too surprising. And so what have you launched now? What are the, what’s the big news? 

Josh: Absolutely. So the new, the new Select Guest Loyalty Program, the headline I would say is you get rewarded for your whole stay. So we recognize and reward members for everything they’re doing on property. So of course you’re getting recognized and rewarded for your room as you always have, but also spa, golf, ski, horseback riding, pool, cabana rentals, you name it. This is all additive on top of the prior program. We call it Rewards Beyond the Room, and we think that’s a differentiator and something that we can do because we’re in all those businesses, we own and operate our hotels. So we want to encourage people to use all the outlets, take advantage of the full experience we have on property. So that was one big thematic change. 

A second big change was we made it easier and faster to unlock higher status levels. So we moved again from that frequency base to a spend based, it was more achievable, more realistic. It’s possible for a first time guests in our new program to earn our top level status after their first checkout.

Paula: Wow.

Josh: So our top level status is achieved icon level status. You can achieve after 8,000 of spend at Omni. And we have people who come to our resorts and maybe they bring their extended family. They stay for a long weekend. People will check out with folios of that size. And we want to be able to say to them now, congratulations. You’re instantly going to be an icon in our program. And when they come back. We’re rolling out the red carpet, especially because they’re in the top tier of our program.

In the old program, someone who had that same first day would still need to wait until they’ve stayed 30 nights to reach that top level and we’re a leisure oriented, you know, full service brand like ours with 50 dots on the map, 30 nights is in some ways a bit of a heroic task for a lot of people. So we wanted to make it much more relatable and achievable. So people engage with our program and feel much more of a carrot to come back and come back soon. 

Paula: Yeah. I love it. I’d love to pick up on both of them, Josh, if you don’t mind. My question about Rewards Beyond the Room is whether that is an internal. Positioning statement or an external member facing communication? Because it’s super clear, but not something I wouldn’t necessarily have expected to be to be visible, but it sounds like it is. 

Josh: It’s both. We’ve talked about it certainly internally. And when we announced the program is live to our members recently, that was the headline. At the top of the email Rewards Beyond the Room. 

Paula: Great. Got it.

Josh: And we feel like it really resonates because we think it’s very descriptive of what we’re doing and creates that emotional connection with some of the imagery we stick alongside of it. So, you know, there’s a picture of a golfer hitting a tee shot with the mountains in the background and it says Rewards Beyond the Room. And that golfer, he is earning rewards and earning towards status in our program while they’re playing golf. 

Paula: Amazing. Yeah. I’ve heard one particular brand talking about the idea of write the press release before you do anything. So, you know, for example, day one in your new job with Omni, it sounds like maybe not quite the exact copywriting because that was very good copywriting. But it sounds like you had a very clear vision of, okay, this is going to be transformative for the business and set that big vision and then work backwards from there in terms of delivering it. So it’s a powerful statement. And again, well done. Whoever came up with the headline, it’s a very powerful one. 

Josh: Yeah, we very much like it. The other thing I would say about the program is the chance to add new benefits, certainly, and we’ve just begun to start doing that. So, even in early days, one of the things we’ve heard a lot of buzz about from our members is the ability to gift status to somebody else.

So that was a new feature for us. So our icon level members can go gift champion level status, our second tier. They can go gift that to somebody every single year. They can designate someone. 

Paula: Love it! Yeah.

Josh: So we see it as a way for people to share our best customers, to share that experience with others. And we’ve gotten so many requests just in these early days on, on being able to do that because people have that emotional connection to our brand, particularly our best, most frequent guests. And I think to me, that’s the true loyalty that we’re all looking for in any of our programs, right? As someone who’s not only aware of you and loyal to you, but an advocate for you truly.

Paula: Yes. Yes, absolutely. And I like your tier name actually, just from a, you know, again, a pure word. I’m obviously a word nerd as well. But Icon, you know, in terms of the impact of you know, of really recognizing an extraordinary spend, as you said, a folio to use your industry terminology. 

And one funny example that comes to mind, and it clearly wasn’t an Omni property because it was in the Seychelles. But I did try and book into a hotel once and they told me I couldn’t book because a family had booked the whole property for six months. 

Josh: Wow.

Paula: It was a COVID type exile or I dunno, retreat is probably a better word, but, you know, to your point, you know, if that had been an Omni property, they still wouldn’t have had iconic stages, even with that, which to me must’ve been one of the biggest hotel spends of the year. So, so some great thinking there, Josh. Very impressive.

It’s barely out of the gate, clearly. We’re going to be releasing this of course, at the end of January but recording the middle of the month. So I know you don’t have any results to share as yet, but I’d love to just ask you, you know, what would success look like? What are you thinking about in terms of, you mentioned, of course, the financials, and I’m sure there’s been a very robust business case developed given your expertise. So, so tell us what are you thinking about in terms of what are you expecting this program to deliver for the Omni Hotels? 

Josh: Absolutely. So it’s about two big things, right? Acquisition and engagement. So on the acquisition side, we want to continue enrolling people into the program. As I mentioned before, we know people who are in the program are even happier than guests in our hotels who are not. And if we can get people into those top tiers, we know that they provide even our best customer satisfaction score. So we want to get people in the program to be able to communicate with them one on one. And that happens through our booking process. It happens at the front desk when we really explain the value proposition. So getting people in the program is absolutely key. 

And then on the engagement side, it’s making sure that we are getting customers to repeat and to not only come back to the same Omni hotel, but to go try out other properties in our portfolio. And really providing a carrot and an incentive to do that. So we want to see people trying new properties. We want to see them trying more when they’re at the property. So, sure. We’d love it. If people stayed in house and ate dinner at the hotel rather than go down the street. I mean, food and beverage is a great differentiator for Omni. It’s quite good and we want people to experience that. We want people to play golf. We want people to go to the spa. 

So being able to look at the spend beyond the room is something that we certainly are going to be looking at as a success metric and are we able to ship customers to not only come back more often, but be more engaged with the full experience when they are.

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. And I got a sense of that earlier, actually, when you were giving us, you know, I suppose, some of the comparisons, the contrasts of the different types of hotels. And another quick memory that comes to mind, if you’ll forgive me, I just did a night in a beautiful five star hotel in Dublin, which I have stayed in once before. Very special hotel for me. But actually this time when I booked in the reservations agent just said, did you know that the Irish constitution was signed in this hotel? And I was blown away by that piece of information that I had never known. And again, I’m still thinking about your Virginia property and the history and how magnificent that must be.

But I think, you know, with all of our wonderful expertise and of course, all of those metrics are going to be, you know, measured and monitored. I can tell coming through, but sometimes the emotional loyalty might come from that kind of training program and giving somebody that kind of, you know, beautiful inspiration, you know, at the point of check in or loyalty ambassador.

Josh: I’ll give you a fun omni example with that. So, Omni Boston. 

Paula: Yeah, please. 

Josh: In Boston, the Omni Parker House an old historic hotel has a lot of history to it. Our loyalty ambassador there knows from their training that the restaurant there is the table where John F. Kennedy got engaged to, to Jackie. 

Paula: Wow!

Josh: And there was a couple that she had arriving recently. And and he said, I wanna propose to my, to my girlfriend, any ideas? And she said, I’m going to get you the table where JFK proposed to Jackie many years ago. And she set it up, the loyalty ambassador set it all up and made the perfect scene for the proposal and made that connection. And it just comes to knowing the history and being able to build that personal connection. And surely that couple will remember that forever. 

Paula: Totally. They sure will. Absolutely. No, it’s a brilliant example, Josh. I think you’ve topped mine. So again I’ll add your Boston hotel to my wishlist as well. So thank you for that.

But I think what it does show at all seriousness is again, it’s not about, you know, earn and burn and points and transactions. I think certainly we’ve seen, accelerated, accentuated, and exploding, dare I say it, the importance of experience, the importance of the storytelling afterwards. And as somebody who works in communications, like, to me that’s worth its weight in gold, so increasingly, I suppose, we are hearing from loyalty program owners that sharing the stories of the program, the people behind it the members who enjoyed those experiences.

And I know you don’t always have permission, for example, to share, you know, something like that with naming the couple, of course we can share the story, but you know, if you could, you know, there’s a beautiful way to drive loyalty as well. So lots of opportunity, very close to my heart. So, so thank you for that wonderful example.

So listen I think we’re coming up on the time here. It sounds like a wonderful evolution a huge amount of work done. Dare I say it, the hard work is only getting started. 

Josh: The fun’s just beginning. 

Paula: Yeah. I was talking about that with somebody earlier. It’s like, okay, we launched now. What? And it’s like, Oh my God, you know, we’re just at the gate. So what’s what’s ahead in 2024 for you, Josh? 

Josh: So we certainly, now that we’ve rolled out the new mechanic we’re just getting started, like you said. So we want to make sure that it’s performing the way we expect and that the delivery of the experience to guests is is consistent and an excellent. And we want to keep adding new benefits.

So we’ve sort of now opened up a new canvas now to work on that we have this spend based program. So opens up a lot of doors for gamification and bonuses and incentives for customers to try out different elements of our experience. We’d love to look at, you know, redemptions for other things and new ways to earn and burn in our program.

Paula: Interesting. Yeah.

Josh: And drive more engagement that way and really ultimately just keep rolling out new benefits and new experiences that make people want to take another look at Omni or keep coming back to Omni, because that’s really what it’s all about. And, you know. We, for me, I love getting emails from our guests, our members telling us about these amazing experiences they’ve had.

And, you know, I see my job is, you know, how do I try and top it? And how do I try and make it even better the next time so that they keep coming back and they tell all their friends that’s true loyalty at the end of the day. 

Paula: For sure. Well, on that note, Josh, for sure. I will say, of course, we want to make sure that you keep coming back and sharing with us and our global audience, everything that you achieve as the months and years go by.

So with that said, I don’t have any further questions for you today, Josh, but is there anything else that you wanted to share with our audience before we wrap up? 

Josh: I would just say, thank you for the opportunity to to join you for your show and talk to your global audience and hope to see everybody in an Omni hotel soon.

Paula: Okay, wonderful. So Josh Belkin, Vice President of Loyalty and Customer Engagement at Omni Hotels & Resorts. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV.

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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