July 8, 2013
Club CarlsonSM, the global hotel rewards program from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, today announced the results of a survey conducted by Kelton Global, which polled more than 1,000 participants in the United States regarding their use and views of loyalty programs.
Wanted: WiFi, Points and Stays
When it comes to joining a particular hotel loyalty program, the ease with which one can earn free nights is the main motivator (62 percent), while other top motivators include free Internet and access to WiFi (41 percent), the quantity of hotels at which to earn and redeem points, where the hotels are located, and regular promotions for members (40 percent).
Nearly half (48 percent) of those queried who belong to a hotel loyalty program 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 percent of members have earned an average of four free nights over the last year.
First Impressions Are Everything
It is imperative for companies to recognize 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 program, 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 percent to discontinue their affiliation. Forty-one percent of those polled would cancel after just one unsatisfactory experience. Additionally, one in four individuals would join a competitor's loyalty program after a single bad experience.
While more than one in five Americans (21 percent) belong to a hotel brand's loyalty program, almost 60 percent 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 percent more likely to be a member of hotel loyalty programs than women (24 percent versus 18 percent).
Once points are accumulated, nearly three in five (or 59 percent) of those polled would rather consolidate points to redeem one longer vacation, such as a family vacation (41 percent) or romantic getaway (32 percent), rather than use points toward several quick trips. This is particularly true for men (67 percent) compared to women (55 percent), and those ages 18-34 (67 percent).
Complimentary Internet and WiFi is also imperative, with two in five (41 percent) 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 percent) when thinking about or choosing hotel loyalty programs and the benefits, especially among 18-34 year olds (94 percent).
Participants indicate that even if they do not have enough points to redeem a free stay, 94 percent of hotel loyalty program members would be willing to spend money to achieve the 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.
Choosing Where to be Loyal
Seventy-eight percent of Americans are members of at least one brand loyalty program; and Americans ages 18-64 are much more likely to join compared to those older than 65. Grocery stores have the most members, with 50 percent acknowledging their participation in a grocer's rewards program. This is followed by credit cards offering points, retail stores, and hotels.
This survey was carried out by Club Carlson on April 24-May 1, 2013, targeting more than 1,000 participants ages 18 and over, with the goal of determining consumers' views and habits when it comes to loyalty programs. This will be used in evaluating the existing program in order to ensure that travelers' needs and wants are being met.
Complete survey results and corresponding infographics are available upon request.