HT Talks Tech: Jen Wong, CEO, Laasie
When thinking of names for her company, Jen Wong was inspired by a television icon that immediately brings loyalty to mind: Lassie. But it’s not just her loyalty to Timmy that kept fans endeared with Lassie and her TV show for more than a decade, it was her intelligence. For Wong, whose company prides itself on using artificial intelligence and big data to power a new kind of loyalty for hoteliers, the name was a perfect fit.
“We’re powering a new kind of loyalty through instant gratification,” Wong explains. “There are no points, no tiers. Instead, we use AI to surface the most relevant instant rewards to every individual. This new way of thinking about loyalty means we can incentivize someone as they are browsing a hotel website to: book a room, enroll in a loyalty program, or transact with he property directly instead of using an OTA.”
The idea for Laasie came to Wong as she started traveling with her family a few times a year.
“For me, points just didn’t make any sense and weren’t any type of incentive because it would take too long or be virtually impossible for us to earn any type of reward, free night, etc.”
Just like many other consumers, she would start her booking process on OTAs and then visit the hotel’s website directly to “double check it looked good” before going back to the OTA website to book. She would book on the OTA because its points program was applicable to a larger network beyond hotels, thus making it more appealing.
“There’s such a great opportunity to capture the audience when they’re on the hotel’s direct website by prompting: ‘Instead of points on that OTA why don’t you book directly with us, and we’ll give you this instant reward?’ And we found this was a huge driver that really caught the consumer’s attention and got them to book direct,” Wong explains.