Destination hopes more targeted messaging leads to loyalty

Destination Hotels and Resorts, which owns properties including Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix and Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, SC, has launched its first-ever loyalty program.

Destination Delivers uses customer data gathered on the company’s Cyclone data and analytics system to create personalized messages and offers for members. The program is not points-based; instead, it focuses on tailored packages and deals to more deeply engage visitors. It also offers some perks, like a $50 vacation credit to those who sign up for the program before June 15, and a discount each time they book at a Destination property.

“We’d been using Cyclone for individual property communications, and we wanted to take that program to the next level,” said Nancy Kern, assistant VP of marketing for Destination Resorts. “Our collection of properties is mostly independent, and we wanted the ability to educate guests on some of those other properties that are a similar experience and meet the same high standards but are just in a different location.”

Destination uses customers’ preferences and booking history to introduce them to other locations as part of its efforts to improve cross-selling across different properties.

Kern added that the program is not targeting a particular type of customer but is focusing on providing individual experiences for past guests, no matter their preferences.

Those who sign up for the free Destination Delivers program are asked to input their vacation preferences — culinary, family, romantic, etc. — which are used to create personalized URLs for each guest. The Web pages show targeted content based on those interests and also suggest smartphone applications to download. A booking widget also can be downloaded from the site.

“What we’ve heard from all of our guests is they want information that pertains to them when they want it,” Kern said. “If somebody is only interested in golf and the beach, that’s what we’re going to push them information on. What we’re trying to do for our guests is not inundate them with information that isn’t relevant to them.”

Most of Destination’s guest communications are online and via e-mail. Direct mail and traditional advertising are also part of the mix, but use of those media is decreasing as Destination ramps up its one-to-one efforts.

To kick off the new program, Destination is holding a contest that offers a grand prize complimentary trip for two to those who sign up for Destination Delivers. The Destination Delivers Travel Correspondent program will award airfare, deluxe accommodations, a rental car and the opportunity for the winner to produce travel content, which will be shown on the Destination Delivers Web site.  

In its first two weeks, Destination Delivers has attracted 6,000 members. Ongoing goals include growing this program and increasing cross-property stays — which have remained at a steady 2% for years — and repeat stays.

AIR Marketing manages the Cyclone system for Destination and assisted the company in creating the loyalty program.


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