InterContinental Hotels Group has sprung a nice surprise on members of its Priority Club Rewards loyalty programme by announcing a 'Free Stay Day' (August 30th) and giving some US$250,000 worth of free stays in support of the chain's recently announced "Any Hotel, Anywhere" pre-paid lodging card reward.
To kick off the latest of the hotel group's loyalty redemption offers, InterContinental Hotels Group declared August 30th 2005 a Free Stay Day to reward Priority Club Rewards members.
Hundreds of Priority Club Rewards representatives went out into the business districts of New York (NY), Atlanta (GA), Chicago(IL), Dallas (TX) and Los Angeles (CA), to award morning commuters tickets to win free stays worth a total of US$250,000 using the programme's new Any Hotel, Anywhere cards.
Thousands of promotional luggage tags, of which one in six bears a winning numeric code, were distributed. Recipients were told to go online by September 5th to see if they had won a card, and to have their pre-paid card issued by mail.
The company announced its Any Hotel, Anywhere reward option in July 2005, allowing Priority Club Rewards members to redeem their loyalty points for a prepaid lodging card that can be used as payment at over 500,000 lodging establishments where American Express cards are welcomed (including the company's competitors). The cards have no blackout dates or capacity restrictions.
Steve Sickel, senior vice president for Priority Club Rewards, said: "We can't have hotels in every location in the world - no hotel company can. So, to provide the ultimate flexibility to our members, we allow them to redeem their points for the Any Hotel, Anywhere card, so they can stay at almost any hotel in the world, on us."
The company says that the card has already been a big hit with Priority Club Rewards members. After just over a month of issuing the cards, programme members have already redeemed nearly 23 million points for the pre-paid lodging cards.
This new redemption option came after industry studies that suggested that frequent travellers feel many travel loyalty programmes make it too hard to redeem miles or points. In a 2004 Phoenix Marketing International survey, 60% of respondents indicated they weren't satisfied with the overall award redemption process of their loyalty programme. And other industry research has revealed that travellers could potentially spend more than 9 trillion unredeemed points and miles, translating into millions of dollars in consumer savings.