Cornell study shows benefits of indy hotel loyalty program

A new study from the Cornell Hospitality Report identifies a notable increase in spend and stay frequency after a guest enrolled in Stash Hotel Rewards, a loyalty program for upscale and luxury independent hotels.

Researchers found that after guests enrolled in Stash, they returned to a hotel nearly 50 percent more often and increased their annual spend by a similar amount. That shift translated into incremental annual per guest revenue of $405 - $780.

The study, titled "Assessing the Benefits of Rewards Programs: A Recommended Approach and Case Study from the Lodging Industry," was authored jointly by Cornell University, Ithaca College and Michigan State University.

The researchers compared guest behavior at 24 hotels participating in Stash, with the hotels providing over two years of transactional data for more than 50,000 guests, both members and non-members. The team measured the change in spending after a guest enrolled in Stash, employing a methodology that controlled for self-selection bias – the tendency of a hotel’s best guest to enroll in a loyalty program. The researcher’s rigorous statistical approach resulted in what is arguably the most thorough behavioral analysis of a loyalty program ever published.

“Most hoteliers are convinced that loyalty programs are critically important, but there’s been little evidence of the value these programs deliver,” said Clay Voorhees, Professor of Marketing at Michigan State University, one the paper’s authors. “We now have that evidence. We observed significant changes in guest behavior that could be directly attributed to Stash.”

Stash Hotel Rewards says its the largest point-based loyalty program for independent hotels in North America. It's purpose is to help independent hotels compete with chains.

“It’s exciting for our team to see hard numbers showing how Stash is helping independent hotels,” said Jeff Low, founder and CEO of Stash. “Travelers are realizing—now that I can earn points, why wouldn’t I stay at an independent hotel all the time?”

For more information on the study and to download a free copy of the report, click here