Major hotel brands remain indistinct to loyal guests

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on June 28, 2004

Only a small proportion of big-name hotel frequent guest programme members can correctly identify all the participating hotel brands at which they stand to benefit from their membership, according to Phoenix Marketing International's recently released Hotel Scores study.

Members of the Hilton HHonors, Radisson Gold Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest programmes had the lowest rate of recall for hotel brands participating in the loyalty programme. However, The Wise Marketer observes that programmes that have a greater number of brand partners should be likely to rank lower than those with fewer partners, simply because it is harder to recall lists of names accurately as they become longer.

Brand recall rankings
Overall, the study produced the following rank of brands in descending order of participating brand awareness:

  1. Guest programme
  2. La Quinta Returns
  3. Red Roof RediCard
  4. Wyndham ByRequest
  5. Hyatt Gold Passport
  6. Best Western Gold Crown
  7. Baymont Guest Ovations
  8. Choice Privileges
  9. Priority Club Rewards
  10. Marriott Rewards
  11. TripRewards
  12. Prime Rewards
  13. Hilton HHonors
  14. Radisson Gold Rewards
  15. Starwood Preferred Guest

Special mention was given by the study to the marketing and communications department for Choice Privileges, as a large majority of its members correctly identified all six hotel brands that participate in the programme (Clarion, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Main Stay, Quality Inn, and Sleep Inn) while many members of other highly-ranked programmes recalled most - but not all - brands.

Brand building
It is important for these programmes to communicate their participating brands because many programme members (40%) claim that their loyalty membership influences their lodging choice significantly, according to the study.

While these are strong indicators of the value of hotel frequent guest programmes, an even greater indicator of programme value and the importance of communicating brand participation in a programme was the 32% of all frequent guest programme members who said that, if their preferred hotel chain was not available at a location, they would first try to find an alternative hotel that was part of their preferred programme.

"The message to communicate all hotel brands in a hotel frequent guest programme could not be clearer," said Diaz. "Increased chain awareness can have a positive effect on revenue and it will help keep a valued customer from staying at, and potentially becoming more active in, a competitor's programme."

Survey objective
Phoenix Marketing's Hotel Scores study surveyed almost 4,000 members of hotel frequent guest programmes to examine their awareness, membership, usage, and perception of more than a dozen programmes.

"Hotel Scores was designed to fill a void in the industry knowledge bank by focusing on not just the upscale hotel programmes but also on those programmes offered by the moderate and economy lodging segments," explained Greg Diaz, vice president of the travel research group at Phoenix Marketing International. "In addition, by focusing on both airline and auto travellers, it gives a more complete picture of the perceptions and value of hotel frequent guest programmes."

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