Hilton’s recent shake up of its loyalty programme is a bold move for the company and will impact the whole travel and hospitality sectors. Rebranded as “Hilton Honors”, members are now able to choose how they are rewarded for their loyalty.
Individuals can choose what proportion they would like to take as loyalty points and as cash, as well as redeeming them via Amazon’s Shop With Points initiative.
Our recent research amongst 2,500 loyalty programme members found that only 38% of respondents believe their loyalty programme rewards reflect their lifestyle and interests, and 75% of members look for programmes with more choice of rewards, including non-core inventory when choosing a travel loyalty programme.
Hilton’s change in approach, like many other programmes, is reflective of a desire to offer more choice and better integrate with its member’s lifestyles. Forward-thinking organisations are exploring ways of making it easier for members to earn and redeem more points in more places; to part-pay with points when shopping online and offline as well as offering rewards beyond their own immediate sector.
What they are creating is a wider loyalty commerce ecosystem, that helps programme providers make loyalty a more significant part of their members’ everyday lives. There are a number of trends that will drive these changes:
The increasingly intelligent use of data
Most of us are already aware of the importance of contextualised personalisation when it comes to loyalty programmes. For rewards to truly appeal to members, they need to be reflective of the members’ lifestyles, and having insight into personal preferences is anchored in the more thorough use of data and technology.
With our recent global member research finding that only 38% of travel and financial services members believe their programme rewards are fully reflective of their lifestyle and hobbies, there is clearly a lot more work to be done.
Consumers will only continue to expect a higher level of personalisation – something which is a growing trend across industries. This is why the utilisation of data for greater insights remains so key, whether it’s used to improve the customer journey when accessing a programme, drive the way in which it is marketed, or tailor the reward or retail promotion on offer.