Choice Hotels International launched a new effort for its Choice Privileges rewards members this spring, offering them what equates to a 2-for-1 free room package—two separate stays before May 25 earns enough points to earn a free night at a future date. Known as “Book. Stay. Repeat.” the offer has no limit to the number of free nights members can earn, but members must register for the promotion and book their travel through ChoiceHotels.com, the hotel’s app or by calling the hotel.
Choice Hotels International is one of the world’s largest hotel companies, with more than 6,800 hotels in 40 countries, operating under the brands Ascend Hotel, Cambria Hotels, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, Clarion and Econo Lodge, among others. It has more than 35 million Choice Privileges members globally. The loyalty program has been rated No. 1 in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards for two consecutive years.
Direct feedback from those members is one of the key reasons the program was created, said Jamie Russo, vice president of loyalty programs and customer engagement. We asked Russo more about the program:
Can you tell us a little more about what spurred the spring promotion?
Guest feedback is the driving force behind our Choice Privileges program. Choice Hotels holds promotions throughout the year for its loyalty members and Book. Stay. Repeat. is a true member favorite.
How does this promotion validate your customer experience offerings and what makes your CX efforts so unique on the marketplace?
We wanted to differentiate Choice by rewarding our members with faster perks, instead of making them wait to hit a certain level or status. In addition to seasonal promotions like this, Choice Privileges offers members easily redeemable, relevant rewards throughout the year. For example, our YourExtras program—the first of its kind in the industry—delivers members tangible rewards, such as Amazon, Shell, or Uber credits, to members the moment they check in for at least a one-night stay Sunday-Thursday.
Can you talk about how your Choice Privileges program focuses on building deeper relationships with the people and businesses it serves?
At Choice, we connect people with people, and our loyalty program plays a large role in helping connect guests to our franchisees hotels. To do this, we actively seek opportunities to enhance our loyalty program, such as our recent collaboration with delivery.com, an on-demand marketplace with over 12,000 businesses. Through this partnership, members may earn points when ordering restaurant delivery. These partnerships make guests’ travel experiences—whether for business or leisure—easier and more rewarding time and time again. In addition, promotions, such as the Book. Stay. Repeat., help members connect even faster for that next business meeting, vacation, or trip to visit family and friends.
How do you gather customer insights that you can leverage to enhance the overall customer experience?
We gather insights by actively listening to our member’s evolving needs and innovate ways to enhance their travel experience. For example, our first of its kind YourExtras program, and our recent collaboration with delivery.com gives members new ways to get rewarded and enjoy the perks of our program.
Emotional loyalty is becoming a hot topic among loyalty marketers. How does Choice Hotels view emotional loyalty, and what is its approach?
Choice approaches emotion loyalty in various ways. First, we strive to address our members’ core need—a great hotel experience at a fair price. Then, our program provides ways for members to enhance their stay with programs, like YourExtras, digital gift cards, and restaurant delivery services through our delivery.com collaboration.
In your opinion, what has caused the shift in redemption preferences within the market?
I think that members are more engaged than ever before. Choice Privileges offers members several ways to earn points, such as this seasonal promotion. However, earning points is only half the equation. Points must have value for members, and Choice Privileges offers members a variety of ways to quickly redeem points. For example, there are over 1,000 Choice hotels with reward nights available at 8,000 points or less. In addition, members may apply these points towards stays at more than 5,500 other participating hotels around the world, gift cards, and other options in our redemption catalog.