Skift has the story, which will see the new combined Warmer Welcomes loyalty program debut in March 2017. The two companies' respective loyalty programs, Taj's InnerCircle and Shangril-La's Golden Circle (no thought to calling the combined program the Golden Inner Circle? Inner Golden Circle? Just wondering), will remain separate programs, but will allow status matching, earning, and redemption across both programs. The plan will bring five million Golden Circle and one million InnerCircle members into the new Warmer Welcomes program.
"The footprint was nearly mutually exclusive, so this kind of partnership actually made a lot of sense. Because we're in different geographies, the inherent desire of our members and guests is to be able to get recognition and benefits across a larger portfolio. That’s why this partnership made a lot of sense."
- Hotel programs are evolving into experience-based loyalty. Both brands are motivated by the idea of evolving hotel loyalty programs away from being solely currency-based into delivering a more frictionless, personalized customer experience.
- No data sharing. Due to privacy concerns, the two companies will keep their respective member databases separate and proprietary. Both companies do plan to more effectively mine their respective databases to deliver more personalization and relevance to members.
- No merger - but stronger brand linkage. While the two brands have no plans to merge and/or aquire one another, they do see opportunities for cross-selling in the future.