CONCORD, NC—Wyndham is setting its sights on the fast lane. Wyndham Rewards—its award-winning loyalty program—begins a multi-year partnership with Roush Fenway Racing and championship driver Matt Kenseth. Supporting his return to the organization, Wyndham joins as the new primary partner on Roush Fenway’s flagship No. 6 Ford Fusion for the 2018 season. Kenseth will be driving in seven races this season, with the 2019 and 2020 schedules yet to be announced.
Wyndham looks to propel its brand’s influence by connecting with guests and fans alike across the country, on-the-go travelers who like to hit the road. The partnership lends itself to NASCAR’s tried-and-true loyal fan base, with a company that recognizes such with a program like Wyndham Rewards. “The appeal for us is the overlap in demographics between our Wyndham Rewards members and NASCAR fans, combined with the reach of the sport—be that average age, household income, or affinity for motorsports,” said Eliot Hamlisch, VP of worldwide loyalty and partnerships for the hotel group.
Roush Fenway Racing is confident in the partnership as well. Kevin Woods, VP of corporate communications, Roush Fenway Racing, sees it as a vital piece to its business, especially aligning with top brands like Wyndham. “It’s great from an awareness standpoint in that it puts our team and our sport into a whole new category,” Woods said. “It’s great for Wyndham Rewards as it puts their brand out in front of a large, extremely loyal fan base that aligns perfectly with their customer base.”
A partnership with Kenseth, specifically, was a a major reason for Wyndham to get involved. Kenseth has 39 NASCAR Cup victories already under his belt and is just one of six drivers in NASCAR history to have a Cup Championship, the Cup Rookie of the Year Award and a Daytona 500 win.
“Matt’s return to NASCAR has been one of the biggest stories for the sport this entire season. For us, the opportunity to be a part of that, and in particular, benefit from the media coverage that it drove—the vast majority of which highlighted Wyndham Rewards as the brand that helped enable his return—was really appealing,” Hamlisch said. “More so than that though, Matt is someone who, not unlike Roush Fenway, we feel aligns really well with our brand. He’s a family man, a fierce competitor on the track and someone who, when you talk to other teams and other drivers, carries a tremendous reputation throughout the sport. It’s just a great fit all around.”
Hamlisch said that Wyndham plans to not only represent Kenseth and his homecoming, but support this fan base and market through new and authentic ways like giveaways, ticket discounts, member experiences and more, as Wyndham looks to grow program awareness, drive membership and build affinity. “One of the key drivers behind us embarking on this journey was the natural synergy that exists between our growing member base—56-million and counting—and the more than 80 million fans who follow NASCAR,” Hamlisch said. “These are folks who are incredibly passionate—and what’s more, are proven to be loyal to the brands that celebrate the sport.”
Woods agreed, noting how accessible Wyndham locations are to fans. “NASCAR is unique in the sense that the fan experience is second to none,” Woods said. “For Wyndham Rewards to be able to provide those types of experiences to their customers is really a strong touchpoint. Wyndham Rewards members and NASCAR fans are similar in that they represent a cross section of the country. Wyndham has more than 20 properties within 20 miles of every NASCAR racetrack.”
NASCAR’s expansive reach is also a force behind the partnership. Hamlisch explained that the sport has more than 50 million viewers annually—making it one of the most highly watched sports on television, second only to the NFL—giving Wyndham an opportunity to get the Wyndham Rewards name in front of an audience with a natural alignment to its brand. NASCAR’s season is also longer than other sports—10 months—allowing Wyndham to capitalize on its exposure and giving it more time for brand and fan engagement.
“What’s been most exciting for us is to be a part of that moment and ride the wave that it creates. From the ongoing frenzy of media coverage and new-member sign ups, to fans reaching out to say thank you and tell us how this makes them want to stay with Wyndham, it’s been an incredible experience,” Hamlisch said. “Jack Roush and the team at Roush Fenway are legends within the sport. The opportunity to work alongside them, while simultaneously supporting the return of Matt Kenseth, one of NASCAR’s most celebrated drivers, is the kind of opportunity that doesn’t come along very often.” HB