Each brand has it’s own approach to hotel loyalty, and here are four huge brands doing it their way. While you might not be able to match the vast resources of these companies, you can take inspiration from their successes and adopt their tactics in smaller ways.
In 2018, the Freddie Awards recognized Accorhotels’ Le Club loyalty program as the Hotel Program of the Year and for Best Customer Service in the Europe and Africa regions. Le Club member privileges include a discount of up to 10 percent on direct bookings, early-bird access to private sales, and benefits with more than 50 partners. Silver members receive a welcome drink and gold members receive a free upgrade.
Part of the popularity of Le Club is its flexibility. In addition to free stays at Accor hotels, members can use points to purchase unique experiences, VIP treatment, partner rewards and items from the La Collection online store.
Red Lion Hotels
In 2016, Red Lion Hotels bucked the industry trend by offering member rates and enrollment in its Hello Rewards program on Expedia and Hotels.com. The partnerships are intended to increase membership and exposure for the hotel brand while providing more access to guest profile information than normally provided by OTAs. After members sign up, the company focuses on building relationships and driving direct bookings.
In an interview with Skift, CEO Greg Mount said that the broadly held belief among hoteliers that loyalty programs drive a significant amount of hotel demand is “old-fashioned.” He said he is considering forming similar partnerships with other Online Travel Agencies.
Unlike most luxury hotel groups, Four Seasons does not have a formal loyalty program. In an interview with Skift, CEO J. Allen Smith explained that Four Seasons clientele are more interested in recognition and personalized service than a points-based loyalty program.
“For our best customers, we know who they are,” he said. He stressed the importance of combining a data-driven approach to getting to know guests with an “observed approach in terms of knowing what [guests] want and how they want to be served.”
Last but not least, Marriott was also a big winner in the 2018 Freddie Awards, sweeping the North American categories, including Hotel Program of the Year.
Perhaps the most defining quality of Marriott Rewards is scale. In 2018, the loyalty programs of Marriott, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton merged into one program, enabling members to choose from 29 participating brands and 6,500 hotels in 127 countries. The combined programs will have an estimated 110 million members.
Marriott Rewards demonstrates the value of loyalty in terms of repeat business and direct bookings. According to Marriott, in 2017 members accounted for about half of all occupied rooms. About 55 percent of business comes from loyalty members.
Marriott Rewards also offers cutting edge loyalty technology, including a dedicated website, a mobile app and a chatbot. The ‘Moments’ online marketplace allows members to redeem points for a range of rewards, including concerts, sporting events and curated experiences. By bringing self-service and automation to loyalty program management, the company saves on the costs of administration.
For more on loyalty and how to implement this at your hotel, download our guide to hotel loyalty.