Hospitality Loyalty Programs 2018: A Challenging Road for Customer Loyalty

by Rebecca Stone + Skift Team - Apr 2018

Skift Research Take

For all the growth and enhancements we have seen in hotel loyalty programs over the past few years, differing opinions among consumers and hotel owners with regards to the overall value and success of programs remain. Clearly, the road to fostering real consumer loyalty will be a challenging one. Hotel companies should ultimately focus on driving satisfaction and providing the best service so consumers choose their brand over others and recommend it to friends and family.

Report Overview

The hospitality sector has been using loyalty programs as a marketing tactic to drive customer loyalty and acquire and retain customers for decades. What started as basic programs to accumulate points and discounts has evolved into a way to target consumers in unique ways and offer more personalized experiences. While the structure of loyalty programs will likely continue to evolve over time, the goal of increasing customer loyalty and driving a higher share of wallet will always remain the key focus for hotel brands. In this report, we take a look at what’s working and not working when it comes to hotel loyalty programs from the perspective of three different stakeholders: the hotel brands, the hotel owners, and the consumers. We then examine where hotel brands should focus their energy in order to reconcile the gaps and build programs that truly foster customer loyalty, thereby driving customer retention and increased sales.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • The key benefits of hotel loyalty programs, including how they drive increased occupancy and sales
  • The current status of and market sizing for hotel loyalty programs
  • A summary of key enhancements the brands have been making to their loyalty programs and why
  • Skift Research’s Loyalty Brand Matrix, a proprietary ranking of seven major brands based on seven key quantitative metrics
  • Hotel owners’ perspective on the value of loyalty programs
  • General consumer sentiment about hotel loyalty programs
  • A spotlight on business travelers, millennial travelers, and affluent travelers and their usage of and sentiment towards hotel loyalty programs
  • An analysis of positive and negative consumer sentiment towards eight brands’ loyalty programs from 2013 to 2017 on major social platforms
  • A normalized ranking of hotel loyalty programs using consumer-facing rankings by five companies
  • Key takeaways on how to reconcile different perspectives to drive real customer loyalty

Executives Interviewed

  • Kristian Gathright, COO, Apple Hospitality REIT
  • Amar Lalvani, CEO, Standard International, Bunkhouse Group, One Night
  • Raymond Martz, EVP & CFO, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust
  • Sara Masterson, VP, Hotel Management, The Olympia Companies