InterContinental Hotels Group

Creating personalized email campaigns to support
employee development programs.

Case Study

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has been pioneering travel across the globe for more than 70 years. They are one of the world’s leading hotel companies with nearly 5,800 hotels and more than 400,000 colleagues working across more than 100 countries..

As part of their communications plan, IHG used Sparks, a platform that uses data to automate tasks and workflow, which provided them with an automated yet personalized way to engage colleagues during and after their participation in the Summit, through the use of data analytics.

Background

Using Learning Pool’s Stream LXP IHG had created a series of asynchronous, online employee development programmes, known internally as Learning Summits. These were scheduled across the year with over 3,000 people participating in each one.

In order to keep people engaging with the Summits and realise the value that their participation would add to their daily work, IHG were keen to adopt a soft, drumbeat approach to their communications. They recognised that ‘one size fits all’ email campaign lacked the ability to engage the recipient on a personal level but attempting to craft bespoke communications to all participants was not an option.

Solution

As part of their communications plan, IHG used Sparks, a platform that uses data to automate tasks and workflow, which provided them with an automated yet personalized way to engage colleagues during and after their participation in the Summit, through the use of data analytics.

Sparks is able to continually analyse each individual’s engagement in the Summit through its ability to interrogate data from both Stream LXP and Learning Locker. It then triggers adaptive and personalized “nudges” to all participants, that best fit with their latest engagement level. i.e. from “no engagement” to “highly engaged”.

Sparks allows the email content, including the subject line, to be completely personalized, both with the use of their name and with copy that reflects their specific level of engagement. For example, those with high levels of engagement would receive congratulations and a suggestion that they might like to review other participant’s comments and engage them in a conversation. Others with no engagement might receive some time management hints and tips to encourage them to set aside just five minutes a day to participate and to assure them that they were not being left behind.

Result

Sparks has made a significant impact on how the summits have engaged staff at IHG. It has been used for 4 quarterly summits so far and approximately 112,000 "nudges" have been sent via Sparks.

The "nudge" approach achieved unique open rates of 35% with click rates of 13.1% – significantly above industry benchmarks, where the average open and click rates are just 21.8% and 2.48% respectively.

While the Open and Click rates tell a powerful story of the engagement with the communications, Sparks has also provided more qualitative feedback as recipients have an opportunity to vote on whether they found the email helpful or not and even leave free text feedback if they wish.

  • Hospitaility and Leisure
  • Nearly 5,800 hotels
  • More than 400,000 employees
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