A recent study from the GBTA Foundation found high interest in both corporate hotel loyalty programs and adding incentives to individual programs to encourage booking through authorized channels.
The study, Making Hotel Loyalty Programs Work for You and Your Travel Program, sponsored by Hilton Worldwide, surveyed more than 200 U.S. Corporate Travel Managers and revealed a large majority (77 percent) of Travel Managers are “somewhat interested” or “very interested” in a corporate loyalty program that rewards companies through various discounts and perks.
In addition, 72 percent are “somewhat interested” or “very interested” in allowing travelers to belong to individual loyalty programs to accrue points more quickly if they book through a channel agreed upon by both the Travel Manager and the hotel.
Some corporate hotel loyalty programs do exist, but they are not common. As they become more common though, these programs have the potential to fill a gap for smaller companies who might not have preferred agreements or cover geographic areas where existing agreements aren’t in place allowing Travel Managers more control over such programs.
Another major finding of the study revealed a majority of corporate Travel Managers agree loyalty programs play a role in their travel programs. Two-thirds (66 percent) agree hotel loyalty programs play at least a “slightly important” role in their negotiations with hotels, and one in five admit they play a “very important” or “extremely important” role.
Additionally, the study revealed that hotel loyalty programs are an important consideration for many Travel Managers when choosing preferred hotels. The primary role that loyalty programs play for Travel Managers is encouraging corporate travel policy compliance and driving greater volume to preferred hotels. In fact, one-third of Travel Managers say they actively inform travelers about hotel loyalty programs.
Most loyalty programs reward individual travelers for staying at hotel chains, but these programs can also align with the goals of corporate travel programs to promote compliance, improve traveler satisfaction and extract value from hotel stays. While the primary goal of loyalty programs is to incentivize travelers to be brand loyal, continued partnerships with Travel Managers can also prevail.