Which Hotel Rewards Programs Most Appeal To Frequent Flyers?

May 18, 2016 | Insights

A dramatization of a rewards club members being presented with some of the perks his vaunted status brings when visiting this particular hotel chain.

For the first time visitor to StatSocial, a quick summary of what we do — and as you read on you’ll understand the chart above — is that we analyze social media audiences. By which we mean any group of individuals who have gravitated toward one another in a social media context; be they the fans of a certain band, or brand, followers of a politician, perhaps those using a popular hashtag, or, in this case, those who favor a certain kind of travel.

We can tell you virtually everything your imagination can conjure about any audience you can name. We provide the basic demographics you’d demand at a minimum, plus volumes more. Specific likes, dislikes, habits, behaviors, brand loyalties, and even personality types.

Social media marketing is too often a crapshoot, with a “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” strategy. With StatSocial telling you to whom precisely you’re speaking you can now harness and control the immense communication potential of the social media sphere, and communicate your message with precision and purpose.

An area we’ve wanted to use the immense insights of social data to explore, for some time, is the highly competitive world of hospitality and/or hotel/resort rewards clubs.

You may already belong to one, or many, but the gist can be equated to the sandwich shop that punches your ‘Güd-Hoagiez’ discount card, each visit, ensuring that your seventh genoa salami and Havarti sub is free. This is done to incentivize your loyalty by rewarding it. We realize you grasp this, but you’ll still fall for it. You’ll walk that extra two blocks to make sure your money goes toward that free sub. Maybe you’ll even pass up the closer place with the slightly fresher Havarti.

Travel is already at an automatic advantage, as it’s often necessary yet frequently unpleasant. Promises of diminishing the latter aspect to any degree is of interest to most. There’s the added psychological perk of feeling like something of an insider. And beyond that, there’s always free stuff, which the richest to the poorest among us generally love.

Airline miles are the most obvious example, perhaps, of this business model. The idea that your currency is in some way purchasing currency — as a bonus — is rather ingenious.

Hospitality chains — hotels, motels, luxury suites, whatever — have become incredibly competitive in this regard, perhaps following the lead of the airlines, their sister business in the greater industry that is travel. Indeed, often points earned at a hotel are redeemable at a partnering airline.

The accumulation of points redeemable for perks and creature comforts, intended to encourage repeat business can vary from simple discounts, to access to VIP areas, to just a nice fluffy robe.

While to our knowledge, none of the programs on the list offer these specific rewards, we cannot swear with certainty that they do not. Membership in some of these programs could conceivably find one arriving after a long day of travel to be greeted by such treats as an AFX slot racing track, a tricycle, and a Hot Pocket half-eaten by a stray cat. Also, it is possible that the discount wine will flow freely with each of these programs, but we make no such promises.

The make-believe currency of the program topping this chart, Starwood — owners of the upscale quasi-trendy Westin, and the more family friendly Sheraton, and various other chains — has you accumulate each time you spend money at one of their establishments are called “Starpoints.” The impatient might redeem their Starpoints for a Snickers bar and a root beer. But if you can hang in there, the Preferred Guest club’s points are redeemable with over 150 airlines, for a vast array of flights and air travel upgrades.

As well over half the club’s members prefer to take to the great blue yonder when bouncing about from hill to dale, their confidently topping this chart seems a natural.

To learn much more about StatSocial, the curious are encouraged to visit the StatSocial site itself, where you’ll find all sorts of stuff including sample reports.

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