WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF. - Hotel loyalty and reward program features and benefits -earning and redeeming rewards- prove key to member satisfaction regardless of the number of hotel brand locations, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Hotel Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report.
The report measures customer satisfaction by examining six factors (in order of importance): account maintenance/management (23%); ease of redeeming points/miles (22%); ease of earning points/miles (18%); reward program terms (16%); variety of benefits (16%); and customer service (5%). Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale. Overall satisfaction with hotel loyalty/rewards programs improves to 701 in 2015 from 676 in 2014.
Although all brands ranked in the study have varying number of hotel locations, program loyalty/reward currency value resonates with program members driving satisfaction. For brands with many and convenient locations, members earn points each time they stay, and the points they accumulate can be redeemed for a variety of goods and services including future hotel stays, shopping, dining, travel and transportation, or the points may even be gifted/donated. Brands with a lesser number of locations may not have a point system, but might offer a tiered system whereby members can earn level-based privileges, such as free upgrades and hotel credit.
"Given that the ease of redeeming and earning points/miles are two the of the top three factors driving satisfaction across all hotel loyalty/rewards programs, it's important to recognize the power of perception when it comes to program benefits," said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at
J.D. Power. "Loyalty/Rewards brands that satisfy the needs of their members are more likely to build loyalty and drive recommendations via word of mouth and positive reviews."
Delta Privilege1 and Hilton HHonors2 rank highest in a tie among hotel loyalty/rewards programs with an overall satisfaction score of 727 each.
Delta Privilege performs particularly well in the ease of redeeming points/miles, variety of benefits and reward program terms factors.
Hilton HHonors performs particularly well with ease of redeeming points/miles and ease of earning points/miles factors.
Following Delta Privilege and Hilton HHonors in the rankings are Best Western Rewards (722) and IHG Rewards Club3 (721).
There is a significant 134 point gap in overall satisfaction between members who have the ability to earn points when making product and/or service purchases (819) and those who do not (685); the next largest gap (119 points) is in the ability to earn points at restaurants (802 vs. 683, respectively).
Word of mouth is a key driver of member satisfaction. Satisfaction is highest among the 11 percent of members who choose their loyalty program based on positive reviews -award or online ratings- (815) and is second highest among the 14 percent of members who choose based on the program's reputation (800).
Convenience of location is the primary reason customers enroll in hotel loyalty/rewards programs, with 41 percent of members choosing their program based on convenience of locations where they travel.
Satisfaction with loyalty programs is highest among Gen Y4 members (745), compared with an average of all other generational groups in the study (692), which includes Pre-Boomers, Boomers, Gen X and Gen Z. Additionally, satisfaction among Gen Y members is highest across all factors, averaging 28 points higher than the other generations. Further, their loyalty is on par with other generational groups.
Recommendation from hotel staff continues to be a key driver of customer awareness and adoption of hotel loyalty programs, with 41 percent of members learning of their rewards program from a hotel employee during check-in/check-out, down from 43 percent in 2014.
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