ALEXANDRIA, VA –Two-thirds (66 per cent) of corporate travel managers agree hotel loyalty programs play at least a “slightly important” role in their negotiations with hotels and one in five admit they play a “very important” or “extremely important” role, according to new research from the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
The study, Making Hotel Loyalty Programs Work for You and Your Travel Program, sponsored by Hilton Worldwide, surveyed more than 200 U.S. corporate travel managers and revealed that hotel loyalty programs are an important consideration for many travel managers when choosing preferred hotels. Additionally, according to the survey, the primary role that loyalty programs play for travel managers is encouraging corporate travel policy compliance and driving greater volume to preferred hotels. The study also found that one-third of travel managers say they actively inform travellers about hotel loyalty programs.
According to the study, 78 per cent of travel managers are allowed to use individual hotel loyalty accounts when traveling for business. Travel managers almost universally say travellers can keep the points or rewards earned through business travel for their own personal use.
“Most loyalty programs reward individual travellers for staying at hotel chains, but these programs can also align with the goals of corporate travel programs to promote compliance, improve traveller satisfaction and extract value from hotel stays,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice-president of research. “While the primary goal of loyalty programs is to incentivize travellers to be brand loyal, continued partnerships with travel managers should prevail.”
The study also found high interest in both corporate hotel loyalty programs and adding incentives to individual programs to encourage booking through authorized channels.