New loyalty scheme for 'one of a kind' hotels
Stash Hotel Rewards has launched a new hotel rewards programme aimed not at hotel chains and groups but at North American's more distinctive independent hotels, offering frequent guests the chance to earn free nights without blackout dates or category restrictions.
Travellers often have the choice of staying at an independent hotel with a more memorable, personalised guest experience, or checking in to a "big-box hotel" that offers the same room, furnishing, and breakfast found everywhere else. In fact, according to Jeff Low, founder and CEO for Stash Hotel Rewards,"We've spoken with hundreds of travelers and many said they felt forced to make a frustrating trade-off."
Stash aims to remedy that trade-off by offering regular travellers loyalty points for staying at independent hotels instead of the larger hotel groups. At the programme's launch, 65 independent hotels in more than 50 cities across the US were already participating, including spas in Napa, upscale resorts in the Rockies and Florida, and boutique hotels in New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Stash anticipates having some 200 hotels participating by the end of 2010.
Travelers can sign up for free membership of the programme via the Stash web site, and the points they earn thereafter are credited to their account immediately, and they never expire.
Redemption is simple and free from the kind of 'category charts' found in many larger frequent guest programmes. Members also gain access to a number of exclusive travel deals (for example, point bonuses matched to the member's own travel history, or weekend getaway offers customised to their home city).
The programme's operator, RevPAR Collective, was founded by a team of travel and e-commerce experts from Expedia, Amazon, Microsoft and Zillow. According to Low, "Stash was founded on a belief in the happiness-producing power of traveling to places that convey a unique and interesting story - places with soul. It's a belief that is shared with independent hoteliers and independently-minded travelers."