Marriott streamlines loyalty programs after data breach
- Marriott International announced the launch of new loyalty program, Marriott Bonvoy, that will merge the loyalty programs of its Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood hotel chains.
- Marriott Bonvoy will launch on Feb. 13 with a new logo and branding that will be deployed across all the hotel chains' channels, including on-property, marketing and sales, digital, mobile and co-branded credit cards. Marriott will also roll out a multimillion-dollar global media campaign kicking off in late February.
- The hotel conglomerate plans to unveil experiential events for loyalty members throughout 2019, including around the NCAA and FIA Formula One World Champions and sponsorships of the Oscars, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Dubai Jazz Festival and World Golf Championship-Mexico Championship.
The launch of Marriott Bonvoy completes the integration of the hotel giant's single loyalty program that encompasses its three main brands — Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood — that the company announced in August. The consolidated program aims to streamline the three distinct loyalty programs under the global Marriott master brand in order to offer a more robust yet simplified experience for members. By revamping its mobile app and bringing Ritz-Carlton and Starwood loyalty members onto the core Marriott mobile app, the hotel chain appears to be emphasizing its additional travel services, including 120,000 experiences around the globe, for its most loyal members looking for unique tours and excursions while exploring new destinations.
The new loyalty program will give members access to Marriott's broader portfolio of hotel brands, including lifestyle and luxury properties and experiences within a single place. Hospitality brands overall are growing increasingly focused on providing guests with unique, memorable experiences in order to drive bookings and stand out among the competition.
Marriott's loyalty relaunch follows a major cyberattack on its Starwood Hotels reservation system that led to more than 380 million customer records being stolen. The hack reportedly began in 2014, before Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016, but the company didn't disclose it until recently. Revamping its rewards program could help to repair some of the damage done to its brand image by emphasizing the importance of loyal guests.
The change comes a year after Marriott announced plans to consolidate its paid media business under Publicis Groupe, moving away from WPP's Wavemaker, which handled most of the brand's global media buying since 2011. Marriott also made Publicis its media agency of record. Marriott made the change in an effort to become more data-driven, streamline its paid media strategy and focus more on technology.