Women Rule in Loyalty, as Bookers and as Workers.
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Thursday, 9th May 2013
So the big question about loyalty is whether you can buy it or you have to earn it? From what we're seeing in travel, most suppliers just seem to be buying it with most programmes geared towards driving transactions ie 'If you spend this, we will give you this.'

4Hoteliers Image LibraryRather than creating that cosy, cuddly feeling within a customer that makes her say, "I like this brand because they know me, know what I like."

Sharing their favourite quote about loyalty at WITX Women Redefining Trave in Bangkok last weekl, Craig Fong, COO of Global Hospitality Solutions, said, "You don't earn loyalty in a day, you earn loyalty day by day."

"Very few hotel brands have elevated its member relations to "loyalty" status as they lack an "emotional" attachment with its customers. But many have proven successful in driving repeat business due to points and other benefits. Luxury brands which in the past refrained from introducing a points scheme relying on personalized service and brand positioning are now giving into competition driven by consumer demand and easy access to competitor content."

Louise Daley, CEO of Accor Advantage Plus, asked, "When did loyalty become a commodity?" "Customers have been conditioned to select on price hotels rooms are now a retail product and hoteliers discount like retailers so customers are attracted to discounts. And there is a lack of differentiation in loyalty programmes, so we need to get back to delivering on service and having experience as a differentiator."

So back to those words "emotional" and "experience", words which factor very strongly with women customers.

Accor Advantage Plus, a paid subscription programme run in tandem with Accor's loyalty programme, Le Club, and only available in Asia Pacific, has 325,000 members worldwide, 55% of whom are in Asia. Men form 60% of members with women making up the rest. Hong Kong is the only market where women are the majority, at 54%.

Asked if there was any difference between male and female redemption behaviour, Daley said, "There is a belief of course that the man earns and the woman (wife, partner, girlfriend etc) burns. For us, the stats show that despite the membership in Australia being 60/40 male to female, we have about 60% females calling in to our member services centre. So indicating the male buys, the female books."

One area that women definitely rule is in the area of corporate bookers. WIT asked GHS, which runs the iRewards loyalty management system for hotels, to conduct a survey of its corporate bookers and the clear finding was that women form the majority of corporate bookers and generate the bulk of room night contribution.

Read full story HERE

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