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How Club 1 Hotels Used SMS to Grow its Loyalty Program

How Club 1 Hotels Used SMS to Grow its Loyalty Program

Find out why SMS is the key ingredient to this global hospitality titan's loyalty program.

Company

Club 1 Hotels is a leading global travel software company that provides exclusive, wholesale rates at over 1.5 million hotels and resorts worldwide plus special discounts on flights, car rentals, vacation homes, golf and more.

Challenge

Members of its loyalty program were missing out on offers lost in the noise of email inboxes. They needed a way to break through with their promos.

Results

Nearly 100% of new members sign up for texts. The click-through rates on Club 1’s texts are 159% higher than the average email CTR in the hospitality industry.

Club 1 Hotels is known for its consistent quality and upscale customer experience. Members of its loyalty program are awarded access to exclusive weekly travel and hospitality deals.

The only problem? Members rarely saw sales or promotions cross their inbox, because the emails were lost among the clutter. A struggle many folks in the hospitality business know all too well. Nearly 60% of travel-related emails go unread.

For Pierce Hutchings, SVP at Club 1 Hotels, this was a major realization moment.

They were already sending out offers around 2 to 3 times a week, where was the disconnect?

After a little investigation, he realized it wasn’t the content that was the problem—it was the channel.

That’s when Pierce turned to SMS as a new way to share offers with the Club 1 Hotels loyalty members.

How to Start an SMS Hospitality Loyalty Program

When Pierce decided to try texting as a means to send offers to customers, he began at just the right place—getting people signed up.

He knew he needed to ask members for their permission before he could start texting them. So, he simply added a message to their new member registration stating that by providing their number they consent to receive SMS messages.

Right off the bat he was shocked to see that nearly everyone who joined the program happily shared their information with only about 3% of people declining.

Next up came crafting the perfect offers.

He began by automating a personalized welcome message to send to every new loyalty club member. The message includes all the program benefits as well as an overview of what to expect from their weekly special offer or discount messages.

From there, the program practically runs itself!

Pierce and his team schedule messages weeks or months ahead of time and check-in daily to view reports for each campaign’s performance.

“Our emails were only seeing about a 20-24% open rate,” notes Pierce. “Since we started texting we’re seeing closer to a 97% open rate with our campaigns. People seem to enjoy getting these text messages and we’re getting a much higher engagement rate than with our emails.”

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Loyalty Programs—Texting vs. Email

Beyond just the increased open rates, Pierce and his team noticed some additional benefits associated with their switch to SMS. The most noticeable being the sheer visibility increase their messages had.

“You can send out 100,000 emails and most of them get marked as spam and moved into subfolders where people don’t get to see it. But with SMS you just don’t have that barrier.”

He also found that customers were much quicker to take action on texts vs. emails.

With email, he found he had to wait about a week before he could get any results on how a campaign performed because people don’t always check their inbox right away.

But with SMS, you know how a campaign performed within hours.

“You know right away how many people looked at the message, how many clicked it. People don’t wait a week to come back to their text messages, it’s more instantaneous.”

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Texting in the Hospitality Industry

As the travel and hospitality industry finds its footing post-COVID, customer loyalty is more important than ever.

When it comes to ensuring your loyalty program delivers tangible value to customers, Pierce and his team firmly believe SMS is the way to go.

"Anyone in the hospitality industry should have a loyalty program, and using SMS is a great way to keep in touch with your program subscribers. It’s a great way to personally engage without it being filtered, spammed, or undelivered."

Pierce Hutchings

Pierce Hutchings

SVP

We’re excited to support Club 1 Hotels as they continue to grow into the new year. Curious to give them a try for yourself? Use this link for a complimentary VIP membership: https://club1hotels.com/vip 

If you want to learn more about texting for the hospitality industry, check out our guide to SMS for hotels and hospitality here.

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