U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT® AND BEST WESTERN® HOTELS & RESORTS RELEASE CO-BRANDED HOTEL LOYALTY PROGRAM STUDY
Points That Never Expire, Ease of Point Redemption, Guaranteed Room Availability and Brand Trust Prove Critical for Today’s Travelers
PHOENIX, Ariz. (May 18, 2017) – An insight report by U.S. News & World Report’s Marketing and Business Intelligence Teams and Best Western Hotels & Resorts was released today during Best Western’s 12th annual Leisure Travel Summit in New York, New York. The result of a study commissioned by Best Western and executed by U.S. News & World Report’s Marketing and Business Intelligence Teams, the report shares data-driven insights into how today’s travelers make their loyalty program decisions. The results, gathered from more than 1,000 respondents, found that the expiration of points, ease of point redemption, guaranteed room availability and brand trust are key factors shaping the current hotel loyalty landscape.
If Points Are Earned, Why Should They Expire?
Based on the results of the co-branded study, the ability to earn points that never expire is a key benefit of loyalty programs. In fact, when asked what travelers find most frustrating about loyalty programs, a full one-third stated expiring points is their biggest pet peeve, compared to 19% for program complexity (ability to increase program status), and 16% for blackout dates or lack of free night availability. Of the brands surveyed, only Best Western offers points that don’t expire. AAA® members, a key partner of Best Western, were especially concerned about expiring points.
It’s All About Free Nights
Loyalty programs are paramount to brands as they provide a way to effectively retain guests for future stays. And, travelers are cognizant of the amount of points needed to earn a free night. The study found that 86% of respondents use earned points to book hotel stays, and 63% agree that free night redemption is the most appealing loyalty program feature. 95% state that rewards programs are a key influencer of their booking decisions.
The Best of the Best
Respondents who are members of several loyalty programs recognize Best Western Rewards® (BWR®) as better than other loyalty programs included in the survey. The program was the “preferred program” for 35% of respondents. And, loyalty program members find it easier to redeem BWR points relative to other programs. In fact, 74% find it easier to redeem BWR points compared to 68% for Marriott Rewards® and 67% for Hilton Honors®.
BWR is especially regarded with respondents under the age of 40. And, nearly half of BWR members are aware of the program’s recent refresh – particularly younger business travelers, and for this group, features related to free nights are a critical driver of future loyalty.
Importance of a Brand you can “Trust”
Over the past few years, brand loyalty programs have become more competitive and travelers are relying on fewer programs. This escalates the importance of the brand and trust in the brand. 44% of respondents felt trust in a brand offering great service was the #1 loyalty program feature when booking a hotel room and another 19% pointed to having hotels in locations there they travel as important. These reasons surpassed both points needed for free nights, and points earned for hotel stays.
“The results of this study demonstrate precisely why we have made loyalty such a focus for our company, continuing to enhance our BWR offerings and working to stay ahead of the game in this area. We want to provide today’s travelers with one of the best loyalty programs in the industry and we believe this study shows that we do,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president and CMO for Best Western Hotels & Resorts.
“As part of our recent BWR refresh, we’ve taken an award-winning product and made it that much better,” Dowling continued. “The revamped BWR program provides easily redeemable rewards, a new digital membership card for ease and convenience, points that never expire and perks and promotions that are simply not touched by our competitors. We look forward to continuing to blaze the trail on loyalty in the hospitality space.”
The only loyalty program where points never expire, BWR offers the lowest free night redemption threshold in the industry, allowing travelers to maximize their stays across all seven Best Western brands. As part of the recent BWR refresh, Best Western is now encouraging members to Go.Get.Rewarded.® with a new marketing campaign emphasizing the ability to instantly acquire rewards. BWR members traveling this summer will receive a $10 Best Western Travel Card® for every night they stay at a Best Western branded property. Additionally, the program’s Status Match…No Catch® allows members to have their status with other hotel loyalty programs matched instantly upon enrollment.
“The top hotel loyalty programs make it easy for customers to understand their promotions and the perks they can receive, as well as how easily they are able to accelerate to the next level of status," said Jada A. Graves, Managing Editor of BrandFuse at U.S. News & World Report. "The best programs offer travelers opportunities that interest them, are simple and meaningful. The results of this survey found that travelers want tangible benefits in return for their loyalty and we anticipate that will continue, with companies like Best Western working to find new ways to appeal to the mindset."
For the full report please visit U.S. News & World Report’s Insights Platform at mediakit.usnews.com/insights.
For more information on Best Western Rewards please visit www.bestwesternrewards.com.
ABOUT BEST WESTERN® HOTELS & RESORTS
Best Western Hotels & Resorts headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, is a privately held hotel brand with a global network of 4,200† hotels in more than 100† countries and territories worldwide. Best Western offers seven hotel brands to suit the needs of developers and guests in every market: Best Western®, Best Western Plus®, Best Western Premier®, Executive Residency by Best Western®, Vīb®, BW Premier Collection® and GLō®. Now celebrating more than 70 years of hospitality, Best Western provides its hoteliers with global operational, sales and marketing support, and award-winning online and mobile booking capabilities. Best Western continues to set industry records regarding awards and accolades, including nearly sixty percent of the brand’s North American hotels earning a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award in 2016, Business Travel News® ranking Best Western Plus and Best Western in the top three upper-mid-price and mid-price hotel brands for three years in a row, and Best Western receiving five consecutive Dynatrace® Best of the Web gold awards for best hotel website. Best Western has also won eight AAA®/CAA® Lodging Partner of the Year awards, recognizing the brand’s commitment to providing exceptional service and great value to AAA’s 56 million members in the U.S. and Canada. Nearly 30 million travelers are members of the brand’s award-winning loyalty program Best Western Rewards®, one of the few programs in which members earn points that never expire and can be redeemed at any Best Western hotel worldwide. Best Western’s partnerships with AAA/CAA and Harley-Davidson® provide travelers with exciting ways to interact with the brand. Through its partnership with Google® Street View, Best Western is the first major company of its size and scale to launch a virtual reality experience for customers, setting a new industry standard and reinventing how guests view hotels.
About U.S. News and World Report
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