Bass Rolls Out Midlevel Loyalty Program

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Bass Hotels & Resorts, Atlanta, is focusing on rewards to encourage existing and new members to use Priority Club Worldwide, its frequent-guest program. A direct response print advertising and direct mail marketing campaign developed by DraftWorldwide, Chicago, introduced its revamped program that focuses on the club's new Signature level of membership.

"We wanted an outward and visible sign that we are recognizing the midlevel loyalty level in addition to our Gold and Platinum plateaus," said Jennifer Taylor, senior director of customer loyalty at Bass. "It's designed to do two things: thank our loyal customers and draw in new customers."

While comfort and service are the hallmark of hotel operations, the competitive lodging environment long ago spurred the ubiquity of incentive clubs to build customer loyalty. In addition to the usual hotel benefits, Bass also offers a 44-page catalog of redeemable merchandise, from bicycles to exotic trips.

The parent company's properties, including Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express and Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts, run the gamut from budget stopover to upscale destination. Points can be redeemed at more than 2,700 locations in the United States and abroad.

The new Signature-level direct mail kits began mailing last week to current members who have stayed at least eight nights at any of the Bass hotel properties. These kits introduce the new level to those midlevel customers with a cover letter, a Signature membership card, a current statement, an overview of the program and a copy of its redemption catalog, Priority Club Worldwide Member Award Guide.

"These people don't hear from us in any meaningful way except from newsletters and statements until they hit 20-plus nights, which qualifies them for Gold," Taylor said.

Welcome kits to new members, including a welcome letter with an overview of the program and a membership card, also mailed last week. The direct response print ads, touting both a toll-free number and a Web-site address, appear in October issues of Money and PC Computing magazines, with four more ads launching in Spring 2000 in magazines such as Golf and Newsweek.

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