Success Story

Marketing Communications Support

An international lodging client wanted to initiate a program that would allow its customers to use gift cards, instead of cash, at five of its ten lodging brands throughout the United States.

They sought the services of McKinley Marketing Partners to find a replacement for the project manager who was on maternity leave for three months.

The client needed an Interim Marketing ManagerSM (IMMSM) to plan and manage the internal communications that were designed to inform and educate franchisees about the program.

The IMM would also be responsible for coordinating the technical and administrative operations with the gift card partner and information technology (IT) departments prior to the program launch.


McKinley’s IMM created and implemented a communications plan that educated more than 2,500 franchisees about the program.  The plan instructed the franchisees on how to:

  • Register for the program
  • Accept gift cards at their hotels
  • Receive reimbursements from the gift card vendor

To do so, the IMM incorporated elements of direct mail, fax, the company web site, training sessions, and events to ensure compliance with the gift card program requirements.

The IMM also worked with the IT department to create a system that seamlessly accepted gift cards as payment during the checkout
process, allowed franchisees to sell the gift cards, and assured funds were transferred appropriately between parties.  Once the system had been tested and hotels were in compliance, the consultant worked with the corporate communications, advertising, and marketing departments, as well as a third party gift card vendor, to promote the sale of the gift cards to consumers, and to incorporate gift card purchases into a loyalty program.

Through her efforts, nearly $2 million worth of gift cards were sold during the first eighteen months of the project.


by McKinley Marketing Partners