Club Marriott aims at true experience

12:44 | 04/12/2017
The newly-combined Club Marriott membership programme was officially launched at the JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi last week, following its previous success in India, Hong Kong, and China. Ralph Frehner, vice president, Food and Beverage, Asia-Pacific for Marriott International, spoke to VIR’s Sam Luong about the benefits the new programme will offer the hotel chain’s customers.

What are the highlights of the new Club Marriott programme?

Club Marriott is not a totally new programme. We are re-launching Club Marriott because we merged with Starwood Hotel in late 2016. For the last six years, Club Marriott has been mainly a dining loyalty programme. Marriott International has been fairly well-known for this programme, with a large number of members around the world.

The food-and-beverage segment has become substantially important for the company, as 42 per cent of the firm’s total revenue across the Asia-Pacific region is generated from it. As a result, the importance of our positioning in this segment was what made us create the dining loyalty programme.

Integrating it with two other membership programmes, “Star and Privilege” and “Eat, Drink, and More”, Marriott created a new membership programme, the new Club Marriott.

The loyalty programme will be rolled out in other key countries and in the Asia-Pacific region by late December, including Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Guam, and Thailand. In Vietnam, Club Marriott will be introduced in several hotels, including two in Hanoi (Sheraton Hanoi Hotel and JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi), three in Ho Chi Minh City (Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon, and Le Méridien Saigon), one in Nha Trang (Sheraton Nha Trang Hotel and Spa), and three hotels to be opened in January 2018.

Regarding the brands partaking in the new loyalty programme, we can already reveal names such as St. Regis, Marriott Hotels, Westin, Le Méridien, Renaissance Hotels, Sheraton, Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Fairfield by Marriott, MHRS, and Aloft.

What is new about the re-launched Club Marriott programme?

Originally, Club Marriott was nothing more than a discount programme. But the company decided to work towards a different vision, with the intent of creating an experience-driven programme packed with privileges, as not everybody can gain access to exclusive events around the region.

That is why we put the food and beverage privileges into the programme. We want to be members’ favourite destination to have exquisite experiences in dining, drinking, and meeting new people.

Thanks to this new fusion of programmes, people can sign up for the membership with a local hotel which is directly connected to their own community, local customers, local food bloggers, and local ‘foodies’.

We have recruited a lot of talented chefs, from Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Thailand, India, and Vietnam. This includes a three-star Michelin chef with excellent culinary skills the hotel hired for the Club Marriott programme.

How will the merger with “Eat, Drink, and More” and “Star and Privilege” benefit the existing customers of Club Marriott?

The combination of three existing loyalty programmes will include appealing perks for members such as up to 20 per cent off the best available rate on the base category of rooms, 30 per cent off food and beverage bills across participating hotels in Vietnam, and 20 per cent off said bills across all participating hotels in the Asia-Pacific region.

Loyal members of the programme can also gain access to high-end experiences in Australia, mainland China, Macau, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea.

With respect to the concept behind the Club Marriot programme, I would like to stress the sense of community, locality, and local dining experiences by offering locally relevant benefits like dining experiences to current members and future ones.

What are the benefits Club Marriott can provide for its members?

For example, only members of Club Marriott and Marriott Rewards can gain access to VIP seats to the Imagine Dragons concert in Bangkok.

Another example is the hotel inviting a limited number of Club Marriott members to partake in chef workshops for chefs around the Asia-Pacific region. Here, they can witness how we train and inspire chefs as well as assist them to get involved in the local community to create top-notch experiences incorporated with local gastronomy.

If you travel around Vietnam and select any accommodations across the hotels we mentioned, you will enjoy the same benefits and privileges as offered by JW Marriott Hanoi or Sheraton Hanoi Hotel. You can stay and enjoy the same discounts for food and beverages, catering, spas and resorts, and other benefits provided by the Club Marriott loyalty programme.

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