Carlson relaunches loyalty program

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Carlson, a hospitality and travel company, relaunched its hotel loyalty program on March 31. The revamped program will feature free in-room Wi-Fi, no blackout dates, rollover nights and complimentary room upgrades, among other benefits. InterContinental Hotels Group also said this week that it will relaunch parts of its loyalty platform in the next three months.

“We wanted to help the hotels grow revenue,” said Heather Passe, VP of marketing, loyalty and e-commerce at Carlson Hotels. "Loyalty is a key component of that. We made significant changes to the program to make it customer-centric. The changes are beneficial to both existing and prospective customers." 

Carlson will conduct the “Stay Twice, Earn a Free Night” promotion from April 15 through June 15 at its more than 1,000 branded hotels worldwide. Both current and newly enrolled members who register and then stay twice at a Carlson property during the promotional period will earn a free night's stay.  

Carlson worked with two agencies on the relaunch. Interactive agency VML was responsible for the digital aspects, and Teviot Creative, a Scotland-based agency, managed the program's branding and creative. The company worked with Riley Hayes on copywriting and support.

Passe said Carlson would like to double the size of the loyalty program by 2013. It was previously known as Goldpoints Plus.

Other program benefits include a 75% point bonus on eligible stays. Starting mid-year, access to a special concierge service line for theater and sports tickets, and reservations at participating restaurants will also be included in the deal.

Carlson also launched a mobile app on March 31 for iPhone and Android devices. The app will include express booking, personalization options, GPS mapping and the ability to redeem points. The app also links to an “explore destinations” feature, with more than 4.4 million points of interest from local restaurants to tourist attractions. 

InterContinental Hotels Group also said March 29 that it revamped the look and feel of the Priority Club Rewards program to satisfy consumer preferences. The company said it studied the qualitative and quantitative research of more than 10,000 frequent travelers over the past three years.

The revisions include redesigned membership cards and e-statements, as well as a new Priority Club Rewards logo and website.

Don Berg, VP of loyalty programs and partnerships at IHG, said the company will roll out a number of features in the next 60 to 90 days, such as “Last Minute Rewards Nights.” The company will email guests on Mondays with a list of IHG hotels where they can redeem their points at a 50% discount that following weekend. It will also include “downloadable media rewards,” that will allow members to redeem points for items such as music, e-books or mobile games.

“Later this year,” said Berg, “we'll also introduce [a program called] ‘points and cash for merchandise,' which is an expansion of our current redemption offering of points and cash, which lets members combine redeeming points with a dollar amount for reward night stays.”

Berg would not reveal a more precise launch date.

IHG designed the relaunch marketing materials and guidelines with Digitas, he said.  

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