I’m betting many of you didn’t take advantage of Accor’s recent promotion, which I blogged about a few weeks ago. Why? Well, probably because you weren’t planning on staying at an Accor hotel. I almost didn’t take advantage of it either, but I said “meh, why not.”
To recap, they were offering anyone that signed up for a new account 2,000 points, which can be redeemed for a $60USD voucher to be used at an Accor hotel. The Accor brand I care most about is Sofitel. Anyway, while the promotion was supposed to run through September 31, it got pulled a few days early, and this is the perfect example of what happens when the loyalty programs assume everyone is a “role model” customer.
So, what did they do wrong that made them pull this? Well, first of all, these vouchers are combinable. There’s also no limit on how many accounts in the same household can qualify for this offer. What does that mean? People signed up their family members, pets (including pet rocks), and stuffed animals. Some people reported getting as many as 300 vouchers. Of course that’s the extreme, but that’s $18,000 in Accor stays, and I’m betting Accor has to compensate the individual hotels at close to full value for those stays.
I took advantage of the promotion, but I was pretty moderate about it. I signed up for an account and also signed up for accounts for two family members. So that’s three vouchers worth $180. I’m going to United’s Fleet Week this weekend at SFO and was going to stay at the Crowne Plaza at the airport, which has some of the smallest rooms anywhere. Instead I’ll stay at the Sofitel, which is much nicer. My rate was $130, which includes a $50 “hotel credit,” which I have to spend. I also want to use up the entire $180 voucher, so I have another $50 to play with at the hotel. In other words, I’ll have to spend $100 on food/beverages.
So while I’d like to think I was moderate with this promotion, I’m pretty sure someone at Accor is regretting this as people book week long stays at the Sofitel London, have breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the hotel, and don’t pay a dime.