Hilton HHonors Changing The Way They Do Promotions

There’s no denying that over the past few years hotel loyalty program promotions have become significantly less rewarding.

During the recession we got used to them offering a major global promotion just about every quarter, which made sense at the time, given that hotel rooms were empty, and those promotions got heads into beds.

However, now that hotel occupancy and rates are at a near all time high, hotel loyalty programs have certainly been less generous with promotions. For the hotel programs it’s a balancing act between:

  • Offering promotions which generate additional incremental revenue
  • Offering promotions which reward existing loyal customer

In other words, if you have an elite member that spends 200 nights per year at your hotels, do you want to reward them for those stays they’d make anyway, or give them an incentive to stay even more with your chain? The obvious answer is that they want to reward existing business as little as they have to without losing the customer, while they want to incentivize incremental business.

Anyway, we’ve seen Hyatt Gold Passport and IHG Rewards Club mostly shift their promotions towards targeted offers, and it seems Hilton HHonors is heading in that general direction as well.

Hilton-Palm-Beach-Airport-01

Here’s an announcement that the official Hilton HHonors representative posted on FlyerTalk about the future of their promotions:

Here’s how: we’ll now have two global bonus promotions (what are typically referred to as our quarterly promotions) throughout the year instead of four. But, the remainder of the time, engaged members like you will receive some very cool targeted offers based on your level of activity within the HHonors program. This tailored approach will allow us to reward our members with the most relevant offers based on their travel behaviors and needs, which will ultimately help you get to your next free night faster. In addition, all of our hotels will be participating in these targeted offers, which we know is a top priority for you!

One more new update – we’re working on a new feature that will allow you to login to your HHonors account and view all the targeted offers and promotions that we’re running just for you. It’ll help identify ways to take advantage of your HHonors membership by earning and maximizing your Points so you can get out and play! You should see this new feature in your HHonors account later this year, and I will be sure to keep you posted on specific timing around its launch.

The next official global bonus promotion will start March 1, 2015, and I will have more details to share at the end of February. Once the next global bonus promotion begins on March 1 and the targeted offers are rolled out, there will always be a bonus offer that you can take advantage of throughout the year. Stay tuned for more details to come!

So basically:

  • Hilton HHonors will offer two global promotions in 2015, rather than the usual four
  • The first global promotion will launch March 1, 2015, with details to be announced in late February (keep in mind Hilton’s current global promotion runs through January 31, 2015)
  • In addition to the global promotions, Hilton will be offering members targeted promotions throughout the year, which all hotels will be participating in

Now, in theory targeted offers sound great. Who wouldn’t want to be rewarded in a way that will “ultimately help you get to your next free night faster.” But in practice that’s usually not how targeted promotions work. They’re typically not about rewarding customers for stays they’d make anyway, but rather about stretching members to be more loyal in exchange for some rewards. On the plus side, it is exciting that all hotels will be participating in the targeted promotion.

What do you think of the new direction that Hilton HHonors is headed with promotions?

Comments

  1. Lame. I’d gotten used to Hilton having a pretty much perpetual 2x or 3x promotion going on. Nothing people like you would like, Ben, but really useful to those of us who often have fewer than five hotel stays in a quarter

  2. The problem with the two tiered approach is that with information sharing on the internet, the details of targeted offers get shared and you end up pissing off customers. That guy who stays 200 nights of year might not get targeted, but he is probably worth the most to the chain. Look what happened with Hyatt a few months ago.

  3. Meh.

    Like many, I’ve cut back drastically on my Hilton stays and barely made Gold last year after multiple years of Diamond. Without some kind of promotion I’m unlikely to stay there.

  4. When holiday inn did this i was a 40-45 weeks a year (workdays only) resident at holiday inn I stopped and did four weeks with hilton. On the fourth week i received email from IHG that if i make an IHG reservation and stay again, i get 200,000 IHG points! Wow. I did and got the points .

  5. The potential problem in the heavy emphasis on new customers, and pretty much taking current customers for granted, is the customer starts to get better offers from elsewhere using the same strategy. At one time the IHG program earned my business away from Club Carlson (about the same time when they did away with web booking bonus), Now, with the poor IHG Big Win offers I’ve gotten, I haven’t had a paid stay there for nearly two years.

    I think yo-yoing will become more common as more programs take up this same strategy.

  6. Well,I will say it is also because technology advanced make tailored offer / promotion feasible. Also, hotel chains hired lots of data scientists (salary usually above 100k) and spent money on big data system. All these cost must be repaid and made profits. So if you, like me working in big data consulting & analytics industry, then yo are lucky, as we usually get paid a lot from our clients (including many hotel chains and airlines)
    But think about bright side, you can still get lots of bonus & promotions in undeveloped & third-world countries. As we have to provide more incentives to compete with local chains, and encourage our customers to stay with us and see the difference. In fact, the company we had relationship with had some great promotions last year in China & India and this year we planned to release even more promotions targeting these two markets. So if you are looking for big promotion, try to travel to these countries more often.

  7. If this is anything like what IHG do with their personalised promotions, this will be a big win for infrequent customers and terrible for those that have historically stayed often with Hilton.

  8. I used to stayed with IHG for over 200 days/year with many incentive promotions (i.e. stay over 20 days to receive more 20000 points, stay 2 or 3 consecutive weekends to receive $50 gift card …) . After they changed their promotion to “new big win”, I stopped staying with IHG as my IHG offer was ridiculous and impossible to achieve. I then switched to stay with Hilton. Now Hilton wants to follow the same promotion plan as IHG did?? Time to look for another hotel chain!!!

  9. I have been a Diamond member for many years now. One of the benefits of the program is acumulating points for free nights that I can share with my family for my being on the road every week (I acheive Diamond status in May every year).

    So, when I found out the Q4/Q1 2014/2015 that ended January 31st was not being updated with a new promotion unit March 1st, I immeadiately canceled all of my stays for the month of February and rebooked at Marriott where I have Gold status.

    For the life of me I do not understand why Hilton would mess around with their most loyal customers! My question to the marketing people at Hilton is this: is it (was it) really worth holding off on a promotion for one month when you ended up losing all of my business? I cannot be the only one…

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