Commitment to the cultural, social and environment integration is a key factor in localizing a global Rewards loyalty program. This commitment has always been one of the fundamental values for Melia Hotels International and its owners. Melia Hotels International was the first hotel company to be certified as a Biosphere Hotel Company in the world, supported by UNESCO. We particularly take these aspects into account when doing business or implementing our loyalty program in other markets, especially in emerging markets.
Cultural awareness is among the ground rules to consider when implementing a loyalty program in a new consumer market. Knowledge of local regulations, purchasing power and trends, travel behaviors, and consumer insights is important to the success of a loyalty program as much as to the business.
With 14 hotels in Brazil, Melia Hotels managed to learn a lot about local culture and consumer insights. One major observation is that Brazil is defined as a high context culture, which means Brazilians place a strong emphasis on how a message is said, rather than just the choice of words. As a result, messages are also understood in terms of the full context of the communicator's relationships with one another.
Understanding and respecting the local culture has helped Melia Hotels to successfully introduce their loyalty program in China, another key emerging market. For example, "Guanxi" (relationship in Chinese) is one of the major aspects to be considered critical when planning and executing our loyalty program. For instances, they ensure to maintain a good network with external partners in China that are established with sizable bases. Another key aspect is Mianzi (face) where Melia Hotels understand that maintaining Mianzi is an integral part of Chinese etiquette. It can be so important that it affects the loyalty of their Chinese customers.