Honors members account for 64%?

Old Oct 26, 2023, 4:17 pm
  #1  
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Honors members account for 64%?

Read this on the google news feed on my mobile, it is a quote from 'The Points Guy': "Hilton Honors, which currently has more that 173 million members, is 19% larger than it was a year ago, Nassetta said. That's a big deal, as Hilton members account for 64% of the occupancy at Hilton hotels around the world."

64%? I can hardly imagine this to be true. What do you think?
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 4:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Sisosig
64%? I can hardly imagine this to be true. What do you think?
IME, that number is very much on the low side. What I see is never below 70-75 and probably closer to at least 85%.
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 5:56 pm
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The airline/hotel/lounge game is now a big thing with Millenials and Gen Z. Even if they don't travel frequently, they love playing the game.
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 6:09 pm
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I have two thoughts on this. 1) I thought Hilton automatically gave people membership in Hilton Honors when they made a reservation through the website or phone. If so, that would increase the number of people who are Honors members staying at the Hilton hotels. 2) What about all of the people booking via OTA? I thought many people were bailing on the hotel loyalty programs and going free agent. I guess not.
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 6:19 pm
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Originally Posted by ChinaShrek
I thought many people were bailing on the hotel loyalty programs and going free agent. I guess not.
Well, yes, but those people don't stay at chain hotels. Going to OTA and then booking Hilton makes zero sense, since 95% of the time you get a better deal direct.
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Another way to look at those numbers is that there's no point in staying at Hilton if you don't get perks.
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 6:22 pm
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Not sure why this wouldn't pass the intuition test...this makes perfect sense to me for several reasons:

-Hilton has been pushing direct booking and member rates hard (as have the other chains), so anyone who is not a member gets a push to sign up when making any booking, and it's rather easy to do and saves a decent amount on that specific booking.
-This is by total occupancy as I understand it, so % of total booked nights across all properties throughout the year...so this statistic can become easily inflated through the actions of a small number of guests. If I (as Diamond) stay 64 nights and 36 random people each stay one night as a one-off, then members accounted for 64% of nights. Seems directionally right.
-Anyone who has tried to get an upgrade or any elite benefits in the past years can attest that it certainly *feels* like everyone not only is a member, but has top-tier status...
-The pool of guests at the properties is self-selecting / self-confirming...that is to say, people who want to be true free agents, do only boutiques, book through OTAs, hate Hilton, love Airbnb, whatever, are not staying at Hilton properties...thus the guest pools becomes an increasingly condensed set of brand loyalists. Put another way, this statistic is simply saying that Hilton hotels are filled with people who like to stay at Hilton hotels...

Last edited by arlflyer; Oct 26, 2023 at 6:29 pm
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 9:41 pm
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I would rarely choose to stay at a Hilton were it not for status.

As it is I avoid North American Hilton properties like the plague.

Boutiques almost universally offer a better experience at a lower cost.

Some Curios and WAs being the exceptions.
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Old Oct 26, 2023, 9:58 pm
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I can't remember.. can you download the app and create a login without having an account number? If nit, maybe there are people with the HH app installed who set up accounts but who don't really book much. I have found myself creating FF accounts with airlines I fly only once so I can have the app available to checkin and show BPs etc...
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 12:33 am
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I believe it.
I’m on a few particular college parents FB pages, have been on them for 10 years. I’m shocked at how many are NOT members of any hotel or airline loyalty program nor have a credit card with rewards. We stress this all of the time, telling them to pick a brand and try to use that brand exclusively in order to build up points to help pay for those high dollar prime football weekends when hotels raise the rates. Same for airlines, get those points! Get that rewards credit card. So many do not and don’t even have a clue the benefits of being brand loyal when it comes to hotels and airlines.
A lot of them also use the third party booking sites, which we stress for them to not use, especially for high demand times.
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 2:08 am
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I believe two things have been driving HH membership in recent years even for people that don't care about points: the room rate that is slightly lower for members and free internet.
I know some people that never bothered to sign up and don't really stay in hotels often, they were invited to enroll in HH at check in when inquiring about internet connection, so they were able to benefit of the free internet.
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 3:58 am
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Originally Posted by arlflyer
Not sure why this wouldn't pass the intuition test....
You bring up some important arguments. My intuition must have been influenced by:
  • Living in Europe, where chain hotels are less common.
  • Rarely hear front desk thank people for their loyalty. Get more of an impression most other people use some opaque channel.
  • Mostly staying on weekends and holidays, so you don't notice the many frequent business travellers.
  • Only very occasionally see someone use a mobile key or use the Honors App to check out when there's a line at the frontdesk (and get dirty looks from people waiting, when using the key-drop).
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 4:05 am
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64% seems about right, maybe a bit high.

The vast majority of people book a couple of hotel rooms per year at most. Those people think loyalty programmes are too complicated / don't work for them / I'll never earn enough points for a free night. But they do remember the non-stop tv advertising of Hotels.com, Trivago, etc. They also remember that "Hilton / Marriott / Hyatt" are supposed to be good. So they put two and two together and book a Hilton via some OTA shown on Trivago.

The only reason that 64% is so high is that people who are engaged with Hilton Honors tend to book far more nights per year than non-members.
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 4:27 am
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:D!
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Originally Posted by ChinaShrek
1) I thought Hilton automatically gave people membership in Hilton Honors when they made a reservation through the website or phone.
Originally Posted by xooz
can you download the app and create a login without having an account number?
It's not automatic but the website offers a "member rate" of something like 2-5% off when joining, so it makes very little sense to not join. If you create a login you become a member.

Originally Posted by Sisosig
You bring up some important arguments. My intuition must have been influenced by:
  • Living in Europe, where chain hotels are less common.
  • Rarely hear front desk thank people for their loyalty. Get more of an impression most other people use some opaque channel.
  • Mostly staying on weekends and holidays, so you don't notice the many frequent business travellers.
  • Only very occasionally see someone use a mobile key or use the Honors App to check out when there's a line at the frontdesk (and get dirty looks from people waiting, when using the key-drop).
I mostly stay in the lower end properties in Europe and I'm often the only diamond on a particular night, but there seem to be a lot of members with no status. There also seem to be a lot of people from booking.com.

I've never ever seen anyone else use a digital key. Why do you get dirty looks when using the key drop? Anyone can use it especially if they already paid.

99% of the time I leave the keys in the room and just walk out. But I also do this for random hotels that I book via hotels.com (if prepaid or pay on arrival).
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 6:54 am
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Perspective as a non-status member: Hilton is not the 1st preference chain so I rarely hit enough nights there to get status from it however the discounted member rates are valuable and I do collect points to transfer into my 1st preference airline programme so even at entry level there are benefits to being a member.
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Old Oct 27, 2023, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by MP001
I believe two things have been driving HH membership in recent years even for people that don't care about points: the room rate that is slightly lower for members and free internet.
Very much so. The online booking platform is designed to make it very clear what the benefits of signing up are, and to make it easy to sign up. A savings of a few % and free internet is, for many people, worth creating a login and getting on a mailing list.


Originally Posted by Sisosig
You bring up some important arguments. My intuition must have been influenced by...Living in Europe, where chain hotels are less common.
I'm not sure if statistically speaking chain hotels are less common as a % of total rooms - there certainly are a lot of Gasthaus-type places and boutique city properties, but we have a lot of B&Bs and independent hotels in the U.S. too. But, Europe does have chains that are more popular there and not really in the U.S., e.g. Accor, B&B, etc. What I will say is that for Hilton, as of 2022 there were 845K rooms in the Americas, 144K in APAC, and only 138K in EMEA, so it is certainly the smallest region by footprint for them.

Originally Posted by Sisosig
Rarely hear front desk thank people for their loyalty. Get more of an impression most other people use some opaque channel.
I've probably been thanked for my loyalty less than 10% of the time over hundreds of Diamond nights, so not sure if that is a useful metric.

Originally Posted by Sisosig
Mostly staying on weekends and holidays, so you don't notice the many frequent business travellers.
Yes, indeed. To the point above regarding the landscape of hotels in Europe vs. the U.S., I would imagine that Hilton skews more heavily business in Europe, being an American chain that is not "native" to the region and has a smaller footprint vs. IHG, etc. So many guests are likely employees of multinational organizations, or leisure travelers based in other regions (who of course would have status). I'd also note, though, that European lounges always seem *plenty* crowded regardless of the day of week. Something about free alcoholic beverages seems to do that...

Originally Posted by Sisosig
Only very occasionally see someone use a mobile key
It would not surprise me if mobile key adoption is much lower in Europe than in the U.S. Checking into a hotel in Europe sometimes feels harder than taking out a mortgage. Passports, physical credit cards, signing of paper documents, all things that I have to do all the time in Europe but not in the U.S. This eliminates the "bypass the front desk" element of the mobile key, which is its most attractive feature (standing in front of the door to my room for 5 minutes trying to get the thing to work certainly isn't).


Originally Posted by infrequentwings
Perspective as a non-status member: Hilton is not the 1st preference chain so I rarely hit enough nights there to get status from it however the discounted member rates are valuable and I do collect points to transfer into my 1st preference airline programme so even at entry level there are benefits to being a member.
Good example of the exact type of customer Hilton is looking to bring on - people that they can just get into their ecosystem with a few easy perks. A certain % of these will start traveling more (e.g. new job) and Hilton will already have a connection with the customer so they can start pushing promos, etc. and perhaps capture more business.
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