Hilton is re branding its HHonors program to suggest it is more about having an experience than earning and using points. Sounds like the ill-fated new Coke of decades past?
Loyalty programs are points earning programs, at their core, and whether those points translate to an "experience" or an HDTV or a night in Mumbai, the points make the program go, and are the reason we joined in the first place.
Anyone else have a different take on this?
I could not agree more with your premise that what is important to the vast majority of us is the points. However, I read the article you are referring to, and I am not sure I agree that Hilton is entering "new coke" territory. In fact, as I re-read the article I had a feeling that they might be on to something. They actually are challenging us to look beyond the points and embrace the "Hilton Experience". It's a "big picture" concept that might not play well with some, but could possibly be embraced by many. I don't think I would be too quick to ridicule the idea. As a marketer, it is important to separate yourself from your competition, and if points is the hook you are using, you are then to be judged on your points vs your competitions points. I think I would rather attempt to sell my "total experience" as it appears Hilton is doing. Just my opinion. What do I know? More importantly, what does everyone else think? Give it some thought before you answer.
Shoeman, well said, time will tell.
Speaking of marketing: Edsel was a great car. (Actually it was, but the timing of it's release, the failure to define a niche in the Ford inventory of cars, lack of dedicated manufacturing lines devoted to it, and the car's advanced features were wrong for the consumer, and it fell flat).
But remember that in any marketing strategy you need to placate your loyal followers, and then while achieving that, hopefully gain new converts. The secret to loyalty programs is the ability to have repeat customers entering your place of business for any number of reasons, not the least of which is innovation and changes that appear to benefit them in the short- and long-term. If a change is cosmetic as this might be, then Hilton might find itself losing customers. That remains to be seen.
I wonder if the success of the Hilton new experience program can be measured using a traditional metric of new members, or if no one else follows your lead, does that mean you've made such a tremendous advance that no one can catch up with?
Perhaps time will tell, and Flyer Talk and other blogs will sort this all out?
At your invitation, I have a different take - I joined MR primarily to earn status so I can be treated as a VIP and hopefully get some tangible perks.
If anyone has tracked my previous posts, you will notice a pattern that whenever status is impinged or relegated to a "so what?" I will voice my opinion. For example, I have been outspoken on "dilution/watering down" of status. A recent post asks why a sold-out property doesn't appear in an "search by address" when PPs are supposed to have a 48-hour guarantee? Other posts of mine ask why can't PPs get "best rooms available" (aka suites or ocean views, etc.) 100% of the time when using cash or points?
I know there is a big difference between airline loyalty and hotel loyalty, but with almost 1M miles in United's program, I love the fact that after years of answering their surveys and posting a comment that always stated, "Why not give top-tiered status a free upgrade to First Class when seats are available as does Delta?" they have finally implemented this perk. No miles earned, just a great upgrade. Having 1K status also allows me to bypass "regular" security, allows me to board first, gets me on the first available flight before any other statuses when a flight gets cancelled, allows me to waive change fees, have all my baggage fly free, etc. Again, no miles earned, just perks.
Similarly, I wish being PP for the last 7 years (or is it 8 now?) that Marriott would lavish perks upon me.
I have 1.8M MR points that are important, but I would rather get perks for my loyalty. The problem I have with points is "now that I've earned them, how best do I maximize their value?" as this post clearly demonstrates: Marriott Points - Just How Much Are They Worth? The other problem I have with points is the way Marriott allows you to spend them - too many blackouts when my kids are on spring break; point-savers dates that never coincide with my travel plans; too many properties that require cash rather than points to upgrade rooms; 669K points for a Sony flat-screen (last year's model, too) when I can get this online for $2138?
Too me, it's all about hoping to be treated like Bill Marriott himself when I check in to a property.
agreed. It's always important to feed the base. I guess lodging and politics have something in common......
The challenge is:
1. how do I keep my present customers happy and coming back for more?
2. how do I attract new customers?
By the way, using the politics comparison, would Obamacare be equal to "points" or an "arrival gift"?
You are preaching to the Choir, and I like the sound of the sermon! Just last evening, I ran into the general manager as I was coming in for the evening. He always smiles, greets me by name, and inquires about stuff. The hotel has undergone a re-do of the lobby area and it looks rather nice. He says to me " how do you like your new living room? Made me feel special, part of the family, not just another lost soul passing thru. Not exactly a perk, but made me feel pretty good about my relationship with Marriott. Now, If I can just get him to get all the tv monitors working in the workout room............