The concept of room service is changing. With mobile delivery apps making it possible to order food from nearby restaurants at a moment’s notice, hotel guests are no longer limited to traditional room service menus with limited choices and high service charges. Those changes in consumer behavior are creating new opportunities within the hospitality industry, as hotel groups get creative and look to take full advantage of the latest mobile technology trends.
A new partnership between Choice Hotels and delivery.com is being seen as a sign of changing times within the hospitality industry. Delivery.com is now providing a “room service-like experience” for hotel guests at Choice Hotels, allowing guests to have orders from local restaurants delivered directly to their hotel locations. Choice’s brands include Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Econo Lodge, Sleep Inn, Quality, Clarion, MainStay Suites, the Ascend Hotel Collection, Cambria Hotels, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, and Rodeway Inn.
“We pay close attention to customer tastes and trends because we know they’re constantly evolving,” says Jamie Russo, vice president of loyalty and customer engagement at Choice Hotels International. “Through active listening on each property, we realized this was an area where Choice could add value to our guests and hotel franchisees.”
The partnership also gives Choice the opportunity to promote its mobile app. Members of the Choice Privileges program can access delivery.com through the hotel group’s app. Not only do they earn bonus Choice Privileges points for doing so, but they also cut down on the expected delivery time for their orders.
Although Choice Hotels and delivery.com are the latest hotel group and on-demand platform to partner, they’re not the first. The Hyatt Centric brand has been collaborating with the mobile-food ordering giant GrubHub for years. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) also announced a partnership with GrubHub in November. Like Choice Hotels, IHG doles out loyalty points to guests when they place orders through the hotel group’s mobile app.
“We were aware of other hotel loyalty programs seeking ways to work with food and beverage services. But, we wanted to go above and beyond that for our Choice Privileges members,” Russo says.
In addition earning loyalty points, Choice Privileges members also earn extra perks, like instant member rewards at mid-week check-in, along with airline miles, coffee shop gift cards, fuel discounts, and shared ride credits.
Russo says delivery.com’s “strong presence” in many major markets played a role in Choice’s decision to partner with the company. Delivery.com offers delivery from more than 12,000 businesses. While the current collaboration is limited to restaurants, Russo says there are plans to offer on-demand delivery from wine and spirits shops, grocery stores, and laundry and dry-cleaning businesses in the future.
Evaluating Choice’s partnership with delivery.com going forward will mean taking a close look at customer feedback. Russo says his company’s willingness to act and make changes to its loyalty program based on member feedback is part of what sets it apart and leads to extremely high level of engagement among members.
“Continuous enhancements to loyalty programs, like Choice’s partnership with delivery.com, are a reminder that there is no static solution to earning and retaining customer loyalty,” he says. “That’s why companies must keep innovating.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.