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Hospitality: loyalty programmes get a makeover

Loyalty is one of the major challenges that actors in the hospitality sector have to face, knowing that customers are less and less loyal to a brand these days. In addition to developing their services so that they are always in line with travellers' expectations, hotel operators are banking on loyalty programmes. A tool that is particularly useful in an increasingly competitive market where new brands are constantly appearing.

IHG Hotels and Resorts is evolving its loyalty programme with the unveiling of "IHG One Rewards". A loyalty programme offering more benefits, more ways to earn money, and newly enhanced credit cards, all available on a new mobile app. The launch of IHG One Rewards follows the announcement in January of the programme's new tiered and bonus points earning structure to give members faster points earning and more ways to use them.

With the new ways of disposing of points, Diamond Elite and/or Platinum Elite members can, for example, be offered breakfast, have access to discounted nightly reward promotions, early and late check-in and check-out, and upgrades. IHG also recognises that not all members want to use their points in the same way, so it is launching Milestone Rewards, a new technology platform that will allow members to choose the rewards that matter most to them. For stays of 20 nights or more, members will be offered a choice from a selection of rewards every 10 nights.

IHG, in partnership with Chase, also announces the launch of IHG Rewards Premier Business Mastercard®. It is designed to allow small business owners to turn everyday expenses into travel rewards while activating new and enhanced benefits in the IHG Rewards Traveler and Premier Consumer Mastercard® products.In the coming weeks, IHG Hotels & Resorts will also launch the new IHG One Rewards mobile app, which will be the driving force behind its new program. The new digital experience is more personalized, offers simplified booking and allows members to stay informed, check in faster and stay connected at the hotel.

This is one of the largest and most comprehensive investments made by IHG Hotels & Resorts in recent years. It's also the biggest development we've made in the loyalty space since we launched the industry's first loyalty programme. [...] Based on feedback from our guests, hotel teams and owners, IHG One Rewards introduces a new look and approach and puts guests in control of their journey.

Claire Bennett, Global Director of Customer Relations, IHG Hotels & Resorts

Voco, one of IHG's portfolio brands, is taking customer relations a step further by launching a bespoke service called "Turn Up" at three of its properties in the UK. This initiative aims to provide a more personal service to each guest. Guests are offered a drink and a snack on arrival, as well as access to unique experiences and additional services such as in-room massages and pet-sitting. Turn Up was launched following a national survey that revealed that half of people say an accessible and personalised experience is more important than ever in a post-pandemic world. Two-thirds of travellers even place quality of service above all else when choosing where to stay.

Whether it's a need for connection or a desire for the unexpected, Turn Up's voco service rooms meet the expectations of today's travellers when they check into a hotel. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach to hotel operator service no longer resonates with travellers - nearly half of those surveyed said they want to be valued as individuals. 

Will Yell, Vice President of Luxury and Upscale Product Conversion and Affiliated Brands, IHG Hotels and Resorts

Accor also announced that it has strengthened its ALL-Accor Live Limitless loyalty programme by forming a partnership with Fever, one of the world's leading platforms for event and leisure discovery. This expands the range of digital services available to programme members, offering access to constantly changing experiences such as immersive exhibitions, interactive theatre and concerts.

ALL members can book either by redeeming their Rewards points or by paying with their credit card and thus benefit from additional points. The scheme will initially be rolled out in 50 major cities and will eventually be extended to 100 destinations worldwide.

We want to offer our members the opportunity to book experiences in the heart of the city they are in, whether they are on holiday or on a daily basis. In addition to accessing numerous events and living their passions to the full, they can use their points to book and earn more! Fever's expertise allows ALL - Accor Live Limitless to offer its members the best of the experiential. For this launch, we already have iconic destinations online such as New York, Paris, Singapore and London. By strengthening the appeal of our programme, this service will help attract new members. It reinforces our Augmented Hospitality strategy and is further proof that the Group's business extends beyond the walls of its properties. 

Mehdi Hemici, Chief Loyalty & Partnerships Officer, Accor

Marriott Bonvoy, the loyalty programme of Marriott International, is offering its members a unique opportunity to attend the Monaco Grand Prix aboard a VIP yacht chartered by the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team. This offer is part of a long list of experiences offered by Marriott Bonvoy giving members privileged access to the 2022 Formula 1 season. Marriott Bonvoy Moments packages including VIP access, meetings with Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team staff and hotel stays will be offered to members throughout the season as the races take place. 

The Marriott Bonvoy Moments platform offers our members the opportunity to create incredible memories by accessing some of the most iconic experiences on the planet. With Formula 1 experiencing incredible growth in popularity, we are delighted to be able to offer our members these unique experiences that can only be unlocked through our programme, creating an unforgettable way to enjoy the season. 

Anne Engelking-Smith, Vice President of Global Marketing, Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy is also thinking of its football fan members who will have the opportunity to win a unique stay at Manchester United's stadium in the comfort of a suite converted into a guest room with a view of the pitch. This is in addition to a number of behind-the-scenes experiences including the opportunity to watch the team train, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium, meet the club's players and get tickets to matches. 

The arrival of our flagship brand, Marriott Hotels, at Old Trafford is just one of the ways we are bringing the extraordinary Marriott Bonvoy portfolio to life through our collaboration with Manchester United, one of the world's most popular sports teams. We are delighted to create this hospitality experience at this iconic venue, giving fans a unique chance to wake up in the home of Manchester United on a matchday morning. 

Brian Povinelli, Senior Vice President, Brand, Loyalty and Portfolio Marketing, Marriott International

To mark the third anniversary of the Ascott Star Rewards (ASR) loyalty programme, the Ascott Group has enhanced the programme by offering more rewards for bookings made by members through its direct channels. To give ASR members a head start on their travel plans in 2022, they can purchase ASR points and receive up to 35% bonus points. Programme members will also receive a 50% discount on point redemption through ASR's point-for-point matching. Platinum members will also enjoy greater rewards, receiving 5,000 ASR bonus points when they complete their stay before 31 May 2022.

The loyalty programme is accompanied by a mobile app, Discover ASR, which allows members to search for offers, manage their membership, buy and redeem ASR points, check-in and check-out on the go and make contactless payments. Ascott guests can also access the app's social wall and private messaging, allowing them to interact with other guests or communicate privately with the serviced residence reception. 

Three years later, Ascott remains committed to maintaining the ASR programme as one of the most flexible loyalty programmes in the hospitality industry. There is no limit to the amount of ASR points earned, no minimum redemption amount and no blackout dates. Our ASR members enjoy maximum flexibility and convenience in the use of their points. Even when travel was hit hardest during COVID-19, our ASR members supported us and remained loyal Ascott customers. Since its launch in 2019, ASR membership has grown by 40% per year. ASR members continue to find value in Ascott, contributing to approximately 90% of Ascott's direct online bookings and approximately 50% of ASR members are repeat guests.

Tan Bee Leng, General Manager of Brand and Marketing, Ascott

This year sees the launch of citizenM's new loyalty scheme, called mycitizenM+, which consists of a £9 monthly subscription. The membership is valid for one year and there are no points to collect or membership levels. Every citizenM hotel is included and by the end of 2022 the portfolio will include 30 properties across 18 cities. Membership provides a 10% discount on the lowest public rate. Other benefits include free late check-out and free upgrade to a sea view room, first in line chat service and early access to discounts and member events. Add-ons are being developed to personalise membership, which will cost an extra £9 per month. 

In choosing the membership features, citizenM relied heavily on customer feedback. A room is guaranteed, even during busy periods, for all reservations made by members at least 48 hours in advance. In addition, guests can use the free citizenM app to check in, create a room key and much more.

We have always appealed to the self-employed: entrepreneurs, freelancers and consultants. Many of them are starting or growing a business and pay for their travel out of pocket. As a young company that has gone through a bootstrapping phase itself, we understand the importance of being frugal while still wanting a high quality travel experience. This is why we launched mycitizenM+. Now, startup founders and independent entrepreneurs have a shortcut to elite hotel status without the need for a complicated points program or a Fortune 500 travel budget.

Ernest Lee, Director of Growth at citizenM

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