The GBTA Foundation recently surveyed 500 business travellers in North America to discover how hotel loyalty programs are used. Hotel loyalty programs claimed almost 289 million members in 2014, and a majority of users are business travellers. The survey was conducted to identify the significance of a loyalty program’s role in an RFP and whether such programs encourage or discourage out-of-policy bookings.
Even though a large majority of organizations allow their employees to use hotel loyalty accounts when traveling for business and use their rewards for personal use, many do not address said loyalty programs with their travellers.
It was uncovered that hotel loyalty programs can help drive travellers to preferred hotels and stay in-policy when choosing their lodging.
Loyalty programs may also inadvertently encourage booking through non-authorized channels. For instance, hotel chains are beginning to offer, or are planning to offer, free internet (basic WiFi or premium/high-speed internet) to loyalty members who book through them directly. Travel Managers are largely aware of this trend and believe it will have a negative impact on their jobs if it continues. However companies still integrate loyalty programs into their policies and eventually find a way to use them to their advantage.