The ease of earning free nights is now the primary motive for guests joining hotel loyalty programmes, according to a survey conducted by Kelton Global for Club Carlson, the global hotel rewards programme of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.
When it comes to joining a particular hotel loyalty programme, the ease with which one can earn free nights is the main motivator (62%), while other top motivators include free Internet and access to Wi-Fi (41%), the quantity of hotels at which to earn and redeem points, where the hotels are located, and regular promotions for members (40%).
Nearly half (48%) of those queried who belong to a hotel loyalty programme indicated the ability to earn free nights was the most important benefit. According to the survey participants, it takes about 43 days for members to cash in on complimentary stays and 88% of members have earned an average of four free nights over the last year.
It is therefore imperative for companies to recognise the impacts of first impressions when it comes to choosing brand loyalty. While four out of five individuals state they would join a hotel loyalty programme, it takes three or more experiences for two-thirds of consumers to consider themselves loyal to a specific brand, though disappointing experiences would cause 91% to discontinue their affiliation.
Some 41% of those polled said they would cancel after just one unsatisfactory experience. Additionally, one in four individuals would join a competitor's loyalty programme after a single bad experience.
While more than one in five Americans (21%) belong to a hotel brand's loyalty programme, almost 60% are members of more than one, as they shop around for the one that best suits their given needs. Findings reveal that men are 33% more likely to be a member of hotel loyalty programmes than women (24% versus 18%).
Once points are accumulated, nearly three in five (or 59%) of those polled would rather consolidate points to redeem one longer vacation, such as a family vacation (41%) or romantic getaway (32%), rather than use points toward several quick trips. This is particularly true for men (67%) compared to women (55%), and those ages 18-34 (67%).
Free internet/Wi-Fi is also a critical factor for hotel guests, with two in five (41%) of the survey's participants indicating they would sign up if granted this amenity. The availability of being plugged in is important to four out of five respondents (81%) when thinking about or choosing hotel loyalty programmes and the benefits, especially among 18-34 year olds (94%).
Participants also indicated that, even if they did not have enough points to redeem for a free stay, 94% would be willing to spend money to buy the extra points needed. This is particularly true if it enables a stay at a quality hotel, or helps to meet their needs for a specific date, location or property.
Almost all of the US consumers surveyed (78%) said they are members of at least one brand loyalty programme; and those aged 18-64 are much more likely to join, compared to those older than 65. Grocery stores have the most members, with 50% acknowledging their participation in a grocer's rewards programme. This was followed by credit cards offering points, retail stores, and hotels.