Do Loyalty Programs Actually Help Your Brand?

Research points to declining associations between brands and loyalty programs

By Larry Mogelonsky President & Founder, LMA Communications | October 06, 2013

I've long held the belief that too many major hospitality brands and too many big names operating in the hotel space can seriously confuse travelers. As a result, this leads to less overall awareness of your brand's unique qualities and, ultimately, decreasing loyalty. By itself this is a very loose argument. However, a recent study spearheaded by my friend, Laurence Bernstein, managing partner at the research firm, Protean Hospitality Partners, has confirmed this sentiment.

For this study, 400 US business travelers participated in an online survey asking them to associate 36 hotel brands not containing the name of their parent chain with one of the following seven loyalty programs: Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors, Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Priority Club, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) or Wyndham Rewards.

Results That May Surprise You

alt text
Bernstein

On average, only 20% of these pairings were correct. Moreover, participants had the option to tick a 'Don't Know' box for each of the 36 hotel brand prompts, of which this selection was made 52% of the time. Either way, this indicates that knowledge of loyalty programs associated with various brands is drastically below where it should be.

Drilling down to the individual percentages, there are some standouts worth noting. Courtyard, when presented independent of its 'By Marriott' namesake, was correctly identified 65% of the time as part of the Marriott Rewards program – the best percentage of the lot. Other victories include Comfort Inn (41%) and Quality Inn (36%) for Choice Hotels; Garden Inn (37%) and Hampton Inn (30%) for Hilton Worldwide; Residence Inn (35%) for Marriott; Holiday Inn (33%) for InterContinental Hotels Group; and Sheraton (31%) for Starwood Hotels.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.

Close

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.