Most American consumers are continuing to spend cautiously while looking for increasing value for money in every purchase they make, according to a survey from Hotels.com, which found that many loyalty and rewards programmes are now failing to provide the value that consumers expect.
The idea that Hotels.com wanted to examine was the notion that, by joining loyalty programmes, consumers can stretch their budgets by earning valuable benefits. But instead the survey highlighted a number of shortcomings. For example:
- 93% of loyalty programme members said they want improvements made to their memberships;
- 59% said they want fewer restrictions on how they can use their programme benefits or points;
- More than one-third (37%) do not feed that the 'value added bonus' is ever really as great as the programme operator leads them to believe;
- 24% said they don't like the 'fine print' that comes with the benefits;
- Nearly half (49%) said they had not booked any travel during the past year using their reward benefits (such as a hotel stay, a flight, or a car rental).
Hotels.com considered this apparent lack of benefit - and consumer enthusiasm - when structuring its own rewards programme, WelcomeRewards, which offers hotel guests 1 free night for every 10 paid-for nights booked.
During the past year, survey respondents who stayed in a hotel or other paid-for property reported spending an average of twelve nights. As a result, most average hotel users would benefit from at least one free night of accommodation each year through the WelcomeRewards programme. The company's redemption policy is also trouble-free for the consumer, as there are no restrictions or black-out dates.
Survey respondents also said they would sacrifice a lot more in order to get a free night at a hotel. Surprisingly, 92% said they would be willing to part with some of their most loved habits and necessities for a month in order to get free hotel accommodation. Indeed, among those who would make such personal sacrifices:
- 71% would give up clothes shopping;
- 65% would abstain from chocolate;
- 31% would abandon their cell phone;
- 29% would give up watching television.