By Nicole Carlino
One major way the hospitality industry has tried to entice guests is through offering member-exclusive rates to those who book direct. Companies like Choice Hotels International, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group and Hyatt Hotels Corporation have implemented measures with a strategy of reducing the cost of customer acquisition and increasing brand exposure. (At press time, Red Lion Hotels Corporation was the only hotel company to offer loyalty rates on an OTA website via a partnership with Expedia Inc., in which guests are also provided a direct sign-up to Hello Rewards.) But what effect will these measures have?
Thom Kozik, Marriott’s VP of loyalty, said thus far, member rates have been successful. “We’re pleased with the progress and we’ll continue to see how we can grow the program and the benefits,” he said. “Direct booking isn’t just about saving a few dollars here and there-it’s about deeper engagement.”
Hilton HHonors VP Aaron Glick added, “This is the most effective way for us to ensure a more personalized and memorable stay. We launched ‘Stop Clicking Around’ to educate consumers on the misconception that booking via third-party sites is cheapest. In the weeks following, we’ve seen the highest Hilton HHonors enrollments, the highest level of web activity and the most downloads of our app in several years.