Case study: Reaping the rewards
Rotana Hotels partnered with tech provider Neorcha to digitise the enrolment process through the My Reward platform. Hotelier finds out more about the process
While most companies like to claim that loyal customers are their biggest asset, in the hotel industry this is more than just hype. As hotel companies don’t tend to own much real estate, they rely on loyalty programmes to ensure a steady flow of guest revenue – and loyalty programmes also help to ensure customers book directly with the company, avoiding online travel agency commissions.
- Samer Saleh, director of food & beverage, Rotana Hotels
- Roger El Khoury, managing partner, Neorcha
- Lijeesh Rajan, director of centralised IT services, Rotana Hotels
The rationale and objective
UAE-based Rotana Hotels has been expanding heavily across the region with brands such as Arjaan, Centro and Rayhaan, and accordingly was looking to develop its customer loyalty programme, Rotana Rewards. Having already deployed several mobility solutions from technology provider Neorcha, Rotana selected the company’s My Reward platform to digitise the enrolment process and extend online account management to programme members.
“Until implementing the solution from Neorcha, we were using manual enrolment forms. The main issue with this approach was the time taken for colleagues to process enrolment in the system,” said Natalija Pesic, exclusive and select programme manager for Rotana. “Rotana employees can now directly enrol members into our loyalty programme which is in line with the group’s goal to grow Rotana Rewards.”
Setting up the programme
The Rotana Corporate Office in Abu Dhabi and the Rotana Rewards programme leaders worked closely with Neorcha through the planning and development phase of the project. “The biggest challenge was integrating all the different systems linked to the membership,” said Pesic. “However, with great collaboration between our partners, we have successfully managed to overcome those challenges.”
After planning and development, the solution was tested for two months in some Rotana hotels with the support of frontline staff, including general managers, food & beverage directors, and front office and IT workers, to ensure it met their respective needs.
The programme in practice
Hotel workers can use the platform to search and view customer profiles, enrol guests into the rewards programme if they aren’t members, and edit profile information for loyalty members.
They can also check member points, suggest redemption opportunities for guests, or issue e-vouchers to members for future redemptions.
“Our colleagues now have the possibility to search for any guest profile that is in the Customer Information System (CIS) and view their information so that we can deliver a better, more efficient and personalised guest experience,” said Elie Saliba, corporate vice president — Loyalty for Rotana Hotels and Resorts.
“They can also assist enrolled members with instant redemptions against open checks in our restaurants and hotels, which significantly improves the guest loyalty experience,” Saliba added.
Through Neorcha’s My Reward app, guests can enrol into the Rotana Rewards loyalty programme, and then view their profiles and manage their accounts.Guests can access the platform through a quick and easy login screen, update their profile information, and redeem loyalty points in real time and pay their restaurant and hotel bills. They can also upgrade to the Exclusive programme via online payment.
“Rotana has taken a very proactive, innovative and collaborative approach to optimising the guest experience across their hotels with the aim to provide a highly personalised service, which is evident through their commitment to the use of mobility platforms,” said Roger El Khoury, managing partner of Neorcha.
“It’s great to see that through the implementation of our solutions they are achieving their objectives.”
Neorcha and Rotana are currently looking to develop the project further, including activating redemption of guest points during the room booking process.
They are also looking at adding more reporting in order to enable the back office team to get more accurate figures on enrolments and value added tax (VAT) transactions related to paid loyalty cards.
“The development process doesn’t end when the app is launched. We constantly monitor the app’s performance and gather feedback from our guests and colleagues to ensure we deliver a consistently great experience and make performance improvements and updates where needed,” said Rotana’s Saliba.