IHG joins F&B loyalty movement

IHG Rewards Club members can earn points for booking a meal at La Boucherie at the InterContinental Downtown Los Angeles through OpenTable. (restaurant with tables and chairs)

Loyalty—the holy grail of the hotel industry. Brands in every segment offer programs to boost loyalty and reward guests for their patronage, but loyalty programs that reward food-and-beverage purchases are rare. That is slowing changing, though. Marriott International launched an F&B loyalty program last month and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts debuted one in 2016, and this week InterContinental Hotels Group announced its version.

IHG is working with online and mobile food-ordering company Grubhub and a provider of online restaurant reservations, OpenTable, to offer members a unique takeout and dining out point-earning benefit for using either service via IHG channels. These innovative collaborations allow IHG Rewards Club to offer members consistent point-earning benefits for ordering delivery to the hotel or dining on or off property.

The Grubhub integration will be offered across markets where Grubhub is available in more than 1,000 hotels in the U.S. for guests staying at the Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites brands.

The OpenTable integration is global; starting now IHG Rewards Club members can access OpenTable via IHG channels and book reservations at any OpenTable restaurant in the U.S., including those at select IHG hotels, with the restaurant options expanding to the U.K. and Australia by the end of the 2017.

Members will earn 500 IHG Rewards Club points for their first completed OpenTable reservation via IHG channels. With each subsequent completed reservation via IHG channels, they will earn 300 points for dining at a restaurant at an IHG hotel or 150 points for any other restaurant reservation. This is in addition to the existing benefit for IHG Rewards Club members to earn 10 points for every dollar spent at restaurants at IHG hotels (excluding Kimpton) and billed to their folio.

Members will earn 500 IHG Rewards Club points the first time they order via IHG channels with Grubhub and 250 IHG Rewards Club points for each subsequent Grubhub transaction via IHG channels.

To earn points for using OpenTable or Grubhub, members must order or book through IHG channels, including the IHG app, IHG website and IHG Connect, the on-property Wi-Fi experience at IHG properties.

Liz Crisafi, head of loyalty, partnerships and portfolio marketing, the Americas, IHG, said: “Our members have told us that they want more ways to earn while dining with us, and now these innovative programs with OpenTable and Grubhub are an easy way to get rewarded, whether ordering delivery to their hotel room, dining at the in-hotel restaurant or grabbing a bite on the road. These new benefits now give our members the ability to create an even better food and beverage experience and represent another great way we are evolving our program to meet their needs throughout the entire travel process.”

Marriott’s new Club Marriott dining loyalty program, which was introduced in Hong Kong in October, integrates three dining loyalty programs—Club Marriott, Eat Drink & More, and Star Privilege—into a single paid membership program. The newly combined Club Marriott provides members with more choices and benefits whenever they dine out in their hometowns or visit one of the 250 participating hotels across 16 brands in 13 countries across the region, with more hotels joining every month.

Each participating hotel will offer locally relevant benefits with a focus on showcasing their innovative dining concepts, and memorable experiences to position Marriott hotels as the preferred place where locals will meet, eat and drink.

F&B loyalty programs are increasing in popularity among hotel companies.

"Club Marriott is the most eminent food and beverage loyalty program of its kind in Asia-Pacific—rewarding and recognizing our guests with great experiences and exclusive benefits across our new portfolio of brands under Marriott International," said Ralph Frehner, VP, food and beverage, Asia-Pacific for Marriott International. "At its core, we know great food brings people together in this region which is why positioning our hotels as 'the favorite destinations where locals go to meet, eat and drink' is so compelling that it has over 200,000 members—and the number is growing—who are actively enjoying the program.'"

In Hong Kong, membership of Club Marriott gives a flat 30-percent discount off food and beverage in the city's participating properties from which the card was purchased. To reward loyalty, complimentary vouchers to showcase restaurants, wide array of benefits for group dining and special offers for special occasions, and a host of buy-one-get-one-free offers are also included.

The program includes experiences that go beyond food and beverage. Members will receive welcome amenities, significant rooms discounts, upgrades and spa vouchers at participating hotels and enjoy birthday offers as well as access to exclusive events. Membership is recognized with up to 20-percent off F&B and best available room rates in over 250 participating hotels.

Following the launch in Macau and Hong Kong, the newly combined Club Marriott program will be rolled out in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai, and other cities in Greater China. The program will also be rolled out in other key countries in the Asia-Pacific region by the end of December this year, including Singapore, India, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, The Philippines, Indonesia, Guam, and Thailand.

A little over a year ago, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts announced the launch of The Table by Golden Circle, a food-and-beverage loyalty program that offers a range of benefits to members who dine at Shangri-La properties.

The Hong Kong-based hotel group, which operates more than 95 properties and over 500 restaurants and bars worldwide, commissioned consumer research in developing The Table – surveying Golden Circle members, hotel guests and local residents on their attitudes towards dining, restaurant preferences and loyalty.

Among the features of the program:

  • More rewards: Members can now earn Golden Circle Award Points by dining and drinking at the more than 500 restaurants and bars found in Shangri-La, Hotel Jen, Kerry and Traders properties globally when they are non-staying guests.
  • Instant indulgence: Instant Dining Rewards allows members to earn and redeem Golden Circle award points on the spot – no pre-planning or vouchers required.
  • Elite rewards: Jade and Diamond level members receive bonus earnings and more value on redemptions for dining transactions.
  • Sweeter deals: Members receive Golden Circle Award Points on all qualifying transactions, including discounts.