Are Hotel Loyalty Programs a Thing of the Past?
By Melanie Nayer ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends
Wednesday, 24th April 2013
Exclusive Feature:Counting points, trading nights, free upgrades, blackout dates, no-blackout dates, preferred status, is it worth it?

Are hotel points really capturing the hearts of hotel guests? Or, is hotel loyalty a thing of the past?

If the recent Deloitte survey is correct, it seems hotel points and loyalty programs aren't a deciding factor for customers when making hotel reservations.

According to Deloitte's Travel, Hospitality, and Leisure survey released late last year, only 8% of travelers said they're loyal to the same brand.

The research and professional services firm asked over 4,000 travelers and conducted two focus groups with frequent business and leisure travelers to gain insight into hotel guests' travel behaviors, especially around loyalty programs.

The survey results showed two very compelling conclusions:
  • Hotel loyalty programs have either little or no impact on travelers' purchase decisions, and
  • Roughly 30 percent, on average, of hotel loyalty members are "at risk" of switching their preferred brand
What does this mean for hotels? Thankfully, not all is lost.

The Deloitte survey showed that a little creativity in the hotel marketplace will go a long. While 30 percent of people might switch their preferred hotel brand, creative offerings and exclusive experiences can turn a wavering customer in a repeat guest.

While loyalty programs are beneficial - I'm a member of a few, if fact - it's the little things that are attached to those loyalty programs that make a great customer experience.

Personalized welcome gifts, repeat amenities based on customer profiles, anticipating the needs of guests with restaurant recommendations or spa reservations, for example, are creative and exclusive experiences that keep a hotel guest committed to a brand.

Add on the loyalty points, and you're close to capturing a guest for life.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.

Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com
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