Hotels Going the Extra Mile to Earn Loyalty

The average hotel occupancy rate in October 2009 was down 6.2% to 58.1%. The average per-room revenue fell 13.8% to $57.57 from 2008 according to Smith Travel Research.

Couple those facts with Forrester Research stating that, “only 36% of business travelers said they were brand loyal this year, compared to 42% two years ago.”

No wonder hotels are going the extra mile to earn the loyalty of frequent business travelers.

Hotels are now bundling together benefits like free breakfasts, no-fee internet connections, late checkouts, and paid parking to attract business travelers.

Some hotels, like Hilton’s Conrad Chicago Hotel, are giving frequent guests the choice of a best-selling book or use of a personal shopper to select gifts for family members at home.

The hotel loyalty efforts go by different names by the different hotel chains.

Hyatt Hotels – “Business Plan”
Marriott Hotels – “Business Boost”
Sheraton Hotels – “Road Warrior”

If you’re a frequent traveler, it doesn’t hurt to ask for the different programs by name. The worst a hotel could say is that you don’t qualify. If that’s the case, you can ask what you’d need to do to qualify for future stays.

Your best bet to gain entry into one of these loyalty programs is to choose a chain you like the best and try to stay there the majority of your stays.

The New York Times goes into more detail on how hotel chains are trying to gain more business traveler loyalty in this article.   Hotels don’t want to lower rates. They’d rather provide more bang for the buck as the hotels have learned it’s too hard to raise rates after lowering them.

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