The concept of loyalty is endlessly debated, studied and evaluated—after all, everyone knows it is cheaper to retain a guest you already have than it is to convince a new one to stay at your hotel.
Hotel companies have stepped up to the challenge by offering loyalty programs, which offer a variety of perks to keep guests coming back over and over again. Millions of travelers belong to these programs (Hilton Honors has more than 50 million members alone).
According to the “2016 Bond Loyalty Report,” loyalty programs are a valuable step to creating the loyalty that hoteliers are seeking:
- 81 percent of consumers are more likely to continue doing business with brands that offer loyalty programs
- 75 percent of consumers say loyalty programs are part of their relationship with brands
- 73 percent of loyalty programs members are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs
Marriott International already has a wildly successful loyalty program: Marriott Rewards typically is ranked one of the top two hotel loyalty programs in terms of popularity and the program (combined with Starwood’s loyalty members) has around 75 million members.
But the company is taking loyalty to the next level with its new Club Marriott program, starting in Hong Kong. The dining loyalty program 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. Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong, Courtyard by Marriott Shatin Hong Kong, and The Sheraton Grand Macau, Cotai Central will be the first to bring to life the newly combined Club Marriott experience in South China.
In Hong Kong, the other key participating hotels are JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, SkyCity Marriott HotelHong Kong,Le Méridien Cyberport Hong Kong and Courtyard by Marriott Hong Kong.
"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.'"
"Club Marriott gives us the platform to drive loyalty that extends even beyond a stay, via rewarding and recognizing the 'local member' through exclusive benefits and memorable experiences across a vast variety of brands."
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 in Hong Kong and Asia-Pacific.
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.
Marriott isn’t the only company that is working to attract loyalty through F&B. 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.