Next-gen Loyalty Programs: TopGuest
By Josiah Mackenzie
Tuesday, 15th February 2011
Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with TopGuest founder Geoff Lewis to discuss what's new with TopGuest – the next-generation loyalty program for travel.

As mentioned in my EyeForTravel event recap post, Geoff said the problem with traditional loyalty programs is those who would pay get stuff for free.

He suggested the next generation of loyalty schemes will involve someone's physical location plus digital communities plus social networks.

He encouraged us to look at the online experience created by disruptive travel companies such as Jetsetter and AirBnB, which are engaging the social customer much faster. We can also learn from online gaming companies that use an engage (play) now, pay later approach.

During his presentation, Geoff mentioned TopGuest is tracking a number of metrics for their partner companies. Since I'm obsessed with measurement, that caught my attention – and after the event I caught up with Geoff to ask about the analytics his company is tracking.

Right now it includes check-ins at the hotel's own property; social influence metrics such as number of Facebook friends, volume of check-ins, and other social sharing. A portion of users can access data to augment guest profiles, such as birthday, gender, and Facebook likes.

The future of TopGuest?

"Our future vision has really crystallized over the past few days and is now more interesting than just ‘focused on Vegas.'

"Specifically, we are transitioning away from being primarily focused on geolocation check-ins, and our vision is to link all the relevant social activity by a given loyalty program member online with their membership number / guest profile in our partners' existing databases.

"The objective is to provide a simple, automated mechanism for programs to respond to [and optionally, reward] all forms of digital loyalty by members, including geo check-ins, but also pulling in things like TripAdvisor reviews, TripIt plan sharing, Tweets, Facebook likes, etc.

"Furthermore, we will enable loyalty programs to do personalized marketing — at scale — around member milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries, upcoming events, etc that those members are sharing via their social accounts. We are creating the ‘social loyalty response' category, and provide the loyalty industry with the first comprehensive measure for member online engagement."


About the author
This blog is written by Josiah Mackenzie, who enjoys exploring the relationship between emerging technology and the hospitality industry. 

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