Khushnooma Kapadia, Senior Area Director of Marketing; South Asia at Marriott International Inc says, "Loyalty today is very critical."
Just before the Coronavirus outbreak had forced most of India to be locked down, in February 2020, Marriott had signed a three-year deal with the Mumbai Indians as Loyalty Partner to promote its Loyalty Program 'Marriott Bonvoy'. The logo of Marriott Bonvoy is there on the jersey and each time the players of the most successful Indian Premier League franchise thumped their chest, the cameras zoomed in on the logo.
Marriott Bonvoy is the loyalty brand Marriott launched to replace – Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG). "Travel enriches all of us" is the belief on which the Loyalty brand is built on. But in a pandemic-struck world, the tourism industry is on its knees, travel seems more risky than enriching. Invoking the Force Majeure clause, many pre-booked events have been canceled leaving ballrooms empty.
Marriot Bonvoy, despite the fresh spike in COVID cases across the country, has decided to continue with the association. "This association is not entirely dependent on travel dynamics," opines Khushnooma Kapadia, Senior Area Director of Marketing; South Asia at Marriott International Inc.
This partnership with Mumbai Indian enables Marriott Bonvoy to provide a set of exclusive offering -- coaching clinic for the kids, to be part of a social media live session with a Mumbai Indians player, get a personalized video message from a member of a team or even go on a holiday with the players. "These offerings can go beyond the tenure of IPL," informs Kapadia. One will have to bid with the points they have earned to get these tiered experiences.
"This is our way of making sure that we keep our engagement absolutely at its optimum when the most obvious ways to do it, which is part of our operating processes, has become so diminished,"Khushnooma Kapadia
Through this association, Marriott Bonvoy is targeting 35+ age group. "Individuals who have attained a certain level of success in professional lives, are discerning and have the propensity to pay," is the target group, says Kapadia.
She believes marketing in this day and age, via different, unique ways and means is more critical than it ever was as guests, loyal members are not able to sample the hotel or travel. "This is our way of making sure that we keep our engagement absolutely at its optimum when the most obvious ways to do it, which is part of our operating processes, has become so diminished," asserts Kapadia.
"Loyalty today is very critical. We constantly recognise the fact that we need to make sure that we are intensifying and incentivising our Marriott Bonvoy members,"Khushnooma Kapadia
Marriott Bonvoy intends to use Mumbai Indians as a platform to showcase the loyalty program. The brand has its eyes set on roping in 1,00,000 to 1,50,000 new members into it.
"Loyalty today is very critical. We constantly recognise the fact that we need to make sure that we are intensifying and incentivising our Marriott Bonvoy members who have been part of this program with us," she adds.
The primary goal of the association is to make more people realise what benefits they can get by being members of this loyalty program. "The main objective is to make sure that we are really targeting our loyalty members with unique experiences," she concludes.