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Agenda & Speakers

Sonesta Travel Pass: Navigating the Challenges of Rapid Growth with a Forward-Thinking Lens on Loyalty Strategy and Program ROI

Tuesday, May 9, 2023 - 2:50 PM - 3:30 PM

Early on in the pandemic, most of the travel and hospitality industry was cutting back or at a stand-still. But Sonesta was rapidly growing its footprint from a mostly unknown hotel brand with 60 properties to the 8th largest in the U.S., currently boasting nearly 1,500 properties. As the brand rapidly transformed, they recognized that their Travel Pass loyalty program needed a major overhaul to act as the unifying foundation for a successful transformation and a future of growth. 

Learn how Sonesta, in close partnership with ICF Next, worked to meet the evolving needs and expectations of their members while also ensuring a foundationally sound ROI that resonated with franchisees, through:

  • Leveraging data to gain insights into guest behaviors and needs
  • Applying levers of emotional loyalty to keep the design member-centric
  • Leaning into ICF Next’s proprietary economic modeling process to understand how program changes will impact member engagement and program viability

Attendees will come away with a greater understanding of the importance of the right foundational strategy and the competitive advantage of advanced modeling when designing a program to optimize for both member experience and ROI.


Denise Holt, Senior Partner – Strategy Experience Research + Insights, ICF Next

Denise Holt understands the power of human insights in driving smart strategy and business growth. With over 20 years of experience in consumer loyalty, brand and creative strategy, consumer insights, human-centered design and business strategy, Denise leads ICF Next’s strategy, experience, research and insights team.

Prior to ICF Next, she ran her own strategy consulting practice, was Director of Strategy & Branding at Optum, and spent over a decade in marketing and brand planning roles within the loyalty space. Clients have included Stop & Shop, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Amtrak, Metropolitan Airports Commission/MSP International Airport, Best Buy, Advance Auto Parts, UnitedHealth Group, Delta Air Lines, Carlson Hotels Worldwide, and more.

Denise infuses business strategy with the human element by leveraging consumer motivations and insights to create memorable brand personalities, engaging experiences and inspired behavior change. She is passionate about uncovering personal stories and insights that enable organizations to connect on a more emotional, meaningful level with their customers.

Nate Thompson, Partner - Data Science, ICF Next

Nate believes in the power of discovery through data exploration. As a partner of data science at ICF Next, he embodies this philosophy through means of traditional analytics and advanced predictive modeling solutions. Nate is a career problem solver with a passion for mastering technical solutions and a drive to continuously innovate to solve business challenges. He has a deep love for all things analytics and getting the opportunity to meet the needs of his clients.

Nate resides with his wife, four kids, and a myriad of pets. He enjoys a compelling video game, all things football, and introducing his kids to his favorite cartoons.

Robin Ruttle, Senior Director of Loyalty & Partnerships, Sonesta International Hotels

Robin Ruttle is the Senior Director of Loyalty & Partnerships at Sonesta Hotels International, where she oversees the Sonesta Travel Pass program, as well as strategic loyalty partnerships. Robin has over 15  years of brand, CRM, loyalty, and integrated marketing experience across many consumer-facing industries including retail, hospitality, consumer packaged goods, and media. Prior to joining Sonesta, Robin led the loyalty program at Stop & Shop, a leading grocer in the Northeast, with over 400 stores throughout NY, CT, RI, and MA. She designed and launched the company’s new loyalty program, Stop & Shop GO Rewards, which was recognized by Newsweek as one of America’s Best Loyalty Programs in 2021. Robin lives in Boston with her husband, Nabil, and their Havanese puppy Mocha Joe. In her free time, she enjoys running, visiting the MFA, reading (and watching) British murder mysteries, and traveling as much as possible.

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