SpringHill Suites by Marriott puts an unexpected spin on driving loyalty for its best customers

A Golden Moment

OK, here’s the situation. Imagine you are checking in at your hotel. Let’s call it SpringHill Suites by Marriott. The front desk notices that you are an elite member of their rewards program. They thank you for your patronage and then say,

“We appreciate your business and would like to give you an opportunity to win some additional points for your stay with us.”

All of a sudden they bring out a customized Wheel of Fortune game and ask you to “Spin It to Win It.”

Springhill Suites Spin to Win Wheel

This was the story shared with me by my former colleague at Synergy Events Keith Green. It’s a nice example of a Golden Goldfish. A little something extra you offer to your Top 20% of customers. Marriott Elite Members get that unexpected fun experience of spinning to win.

Everyone Gets a Spin

The spin wheel has shown up in the past. #910 in the Purple Goldfish Project was taken from an experience at Reynolds Farms:
reynolds farms
Started in 1959, Reynolds Farms Nursery and Country Garden Center is based in Norwalk, CT. At Reynolds you’ll find ideas for every lawn and garden challenge plus décor.
Separated by less than a kilometer, Reynolds is miles apart from the Home Depot in the realm of customer experience.  Before walking into the nursery, me and my two young boys encountered a goldfish pond. One of the associates came out and asked Thomas and James if they’d like to feed the fish.  While the boys were feeding the fish, the staff helped me locate what I needed.  Upon checking out I noticed a “spin to win” wheel. The staff informed me that every purchase at Reynolds is entitled to a spin. They were gracious enough to allow both of the boys to have a spin.  We went 0 for 2 unfortunately, but the staff offered the boys each a lollipop. The Phelps’ family left with smiles on our faces.

Spinning it and Paying it Forward

Chick-fil-A also uses the spin-to-win wheel. The restaurant bring it out to help fundraising for local schools. The give back a percentage of sales for school sponsored days. The wheel is run by volunteers from the school and its a nice way to draw attention to the cause. Each spin costs $1.00. All proceeds go to the school and Chick-fil-A hands out gift cards for free food and drinks. Everyone is a winner.
Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Let’s go back 25 years ago for an interesting handful of spins on the Wheel of Fortune:

4 replies
  1. Adrian Swinscoe
    Adrian Swinscoe says:

    Nice idea for rewarding customers or promoting a local cause. Also, it’s also great to see that rewards programmes that are still delivered in a non-digital way. I wonder if that makes them more engaging?


    • Stan Phelps
      Stan Phelps says:

      Interesting point Adrian. I think as everything migrates to digital, the analog examples will become more impactful. Just like receiving a handwritten note is novel in lieu of sea of e-mail.

  2. James Lawther
    James Lawther says:


    It strikes me that a good idea is worth stealing. I wonder how many of your goldfish could be directly applied to another business. Do goldfish grow as big if they are dropped into somebody else’s pond?


    • Stan Phelps
      Stan Phelps says:

      In the immortal words of Oscar Wilde, “Talent borrows, genius steals.” There are certainly ideas worth stealing. I’d argue that it would make sense to avoid the Xerox copier in favor of putting your own twist on it. After all (stealing a line from author Joe Jaffe), “Once is witty, twice is sh*tty.”

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