As the competition among hotel loyalty/rewards programs continues to heat up, hotel chains having multiple brands, wide distribution networks and diverse partnerships demonstrate distinct advantages in satisfying their members, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Hotel Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report,SM released today.
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%); variety of benefits (16%); reward program terms (16%); and customer service (5%). Satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale.
Overall satisfaction with hotel loyalty/rewards programs improves to 711 in 2016 from 701 in 2015. Among the highest-ranked brands in the report, satisfaction with their loyalty/rewards programs is influenced by ease of earning and redeeming points, a diverse partnership network and multiple hotel brands. The ability for a customer to accumulate points and easily redeem them for one of many locations or an upscale property is highly satisfying—and it is a competitive differentiator among loyalty/rewards programs.
"Members of hotel loyalty/rewards programs see great value in their program of choice, and they are highly satisfied when they can easily earn and redeem points to select preferred locations in various locations," said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. "Programs with hotels offering multiple brands, partnerships and locations have a strong competitive advantage. However, once customers arrive at a location, their actual hotel experience plays an important role in the overall experience with their program. Loyalty/rewards program administrators need to keep this in mind while exploring opportunities to create innovative customer centric perks."
- Hilton HHonors1 and Marriott Rewards2 rank highest in a tie among hotel loyalty/rewards programs, with an overall satisfaction score of 741 each. Satisfaction with Hilton HHonors improves by 14 points and Marriott Rewards increases significantly by 24 points. This is also the second consecutive year Hilton HHonors ranks highest in this report.
- Hilton HHonors scores high in the account maintenance/management factor (756) and also performs particularly well in the reward program terms and variety of benefits factors.
- Marriott Rewards scores high in ease of redeeming points/miles (755) and performs particularly well in reward program terms and ease of earning points/miles.
- Following Hilton HHonors and Marriott Rewards in the rankings is IHG Rewards Club3 (722).
Following are additional findings in the report.
- Satisfaction Influences Program Loyalty: Providing an outstanding loyalty/rewards program experience can generate high levels of advocacy and retention. The report finds that 83% of highly satisfied members (overall satisfaction scores of 900 or higher) say they "definitely will" recommend the brand to a friend, relative or colleague, while only 10% of displeased members (scores of 649 or less) say they "definitely will" recommend.
- Loyalty/Rewards Program Value Remains Consistent: Slightly more than three-fourths (77%) of members say their program is equally as valuable as it was in 2015, and just 11% indicate their program is less valuable than the year before.
- Positive Reviews and Reputation Are Reasons to Choose: Satisfaction is highest among the 8% of members who choose their loyalty program based on positive reviews—award or online ratings—(829 vs. 815 in 2015) and is second highest among the 11% of members who choose based on the program's reputation (811 vs. 800 in 2015).
- Location, Location, Location: Convenience of location continues to be the primary reason customers enroll in hotel loyalty/rewards programs, with 40% of customers choosing their program based on convenience of locations.
The 2016 Hotel Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report is based on responses from more than 3,096 consumers in the United States who have joined a hotel loyalty plan. Invitations to participate in the online survey were sent via email to panelists in February 2016.
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