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Luxury hotel groups & their lack of rewards programs

Luxury hotel groups & their lack of rewards programs

Old Jun 8, 2015, 6:16 am
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Luxury hotel groups & their lack of rewards programs

Namely Peninsula, Four Seasons, and Mandarin Oriental - executives/PR from all three groups say that the guests would not value a point-based rewards program, and I agree. I think the reason is that people who can shell out $500+/night on a standard hotel room are affluent enough to not care about the free night, once every dozen nights. However, these hotel executives/PR justify their lack of rewards programs by saying that they "reward" patrons with a "guest recognition" system or some derivative of that.

What, then, exactly is a "guest recognition" system? The executives/PR say that the hotels will cater to guests' preferences, but what preferences can one specify before the stay (higher floor, nonsmoking, 1 king bed, far from elevator) that other hotels like a Hilton or Marriott cannot satisfy?

Having stayed at some Four Seasons and Park Hyatts (I know Hyatt has a points program) in non-vacation locations (i.e. not the Maldives), I always find their "recognition" system the same as staying at the Intercontinental or Hilton + simply asking "can I ask for/have ___ ?" Although, to be fair, FS did give me two sets of wooden hangers to take home for my suits. Maybe that's their new points system?

Fun fact: some boutique hotel I stayed at in Beijing wanted to charge me 600CNY for a damn electronic table clock, which I really loved. The clock itself felt really cheap, but the hotel claims that it was custom-made. Do you think if it were the FS, they would have recognized my guest preference of wanting to own that clock without having to pay for it, and just have given it to me?

How have you noticeably benefited or been wooed by luxury groups' "guest recognition" programs? Inputs and discussion welcome.

Last edited by TOMFORD; Jun 8, 2015 at 6:28 am
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 6:20 am
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I'm not sure how universal the guest recognition system at the FS is.... I'm allergic to something in the L'Occitane products and I find that I have to request alternate products with every stay.....

FDW
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 6:25 am
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there are a number of threads on general topic, most recently several threads when FS had announced considering a program, and then experimented with By Invitation program. i have done a compilation of the FS threads. i might try to do a compilation of all threads on this topic.

but is your real question more about ' what makes a luxury hotel ? '

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jun 8, 2015 at 6:37 am
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 6:32 am
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Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri
there are a number of threads on general topic, most recently several threads when FS had announced considering a program, and then experimented with By Invitation program. i have done a compilation of those threads. i might try to do a compilation of all threads on this topic.

but is your question more - what makes a luxury hotel?
No, I mean luxury is different for everyone and there's no way and no point to define what makes a luxury hotel. I just don't understand those groups who say they reward guests with a recognition program. If you don't have a rewards program, that's fine, don't hide it with some silly guest recognition program that no one can quantify the usefulness of.
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 6:38 am
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i think 'answer' to your main question is discussed here more generally

when (good) companies say they focus on service, that is true
programs cost, and are designed to be profitable within program

i dont think you were suggesting cheap chain hotels have same budget as expensive top property, but properties/locations will vary. luxury non-franchise vary much less, but still vary.

service is not always about quantifying, and when 'MBAs' claim you can, that becomes problematic.

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Jun 8, 2015 at 6:48 am
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 6:50 am
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I was not suggesting cheap hotels have the same budget. The only thing I was comparing between cheap and expensive hotels is that guest preferences are usually satisfied in both. However, that is on my assumption that expensive hotels' guest recognition is more or less same as cheap hotels' floor/room/bed/pillow preference. And that assumption rests on my lack of understanding of what a guest recognition program is, which is why I have come here to find out.
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 6:54 am
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youre including factors like higher occupancy (overall) at lower priced chain hotels? also the more rooms there are, the more complicated some requests become in terms of delivery.

not to mention a very important difference - service recovery after service failure
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 7:16 am
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I would imagine requests like higher floors to be easier when there are more rooms. And service recovery after service failure are rare instances that I have no experienced.

But anything and you and I have discussed did not contribute to my understanding of what a guest recognition program is. I would like to stay on that topic. And by stay on that topic I mean start a discussion on that topic since we haven't been talking about that at all.
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 7:21 am
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"I think the reason is that people who can shell out $500+/night on a standard hotel room are affluent enough to not care about the free night, once every dozen nights. "

Count me out of that group.
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Last edited by DSI; Jun 8, 2015 at 7:28 am
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 8:06 am
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Originally Posted by declinespecificinformation
"I think the reason is that people who can shell out $500+/night on a standard hotel room are affluent enough to not care about the free night, once every dozen nights. "

Count me out of that group.
Done.
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 8:38 am
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Originally Posted by agp423
What, then, exactly is a "guest recognition" system? The executives/PR say that the hotels will cater to guests' preferences, but what preferences can one specify before the stay (higher floor, nonsmoking, 1 king bed, far from elevator) that other hotels like a Hilton or Marriott cannot satisfy?

Fun fact: some boutique hotel I stayed at in Beijing wanted to charge me 600CNY for a damn electronic table clock, which I really loved. Do you think if it were the FS they would have just given it to me?

How have you noticeably benefited or been wooed by luxury groups' "guest recognition" programs? Inputs and discussion welcome.
SL has their Horizon Club program but it earns points at an anemic rate. I have no high, good status with them but know the necessary individuals to get things done.

I think of what you mean more of personalization and preferences than guest recognition?
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 8:43 am
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Originally Posted by declinespecificinformation
"I think the reason is that people who can shell out $500+/night on a standard hotel room are affluent enough to not care about the free night, once every dozen nights. "

Count me out of that group.
Agreed. I spend ~3 months a year in 5 star hotels and care about receiving something back for my loyalty. The funny thing with money is that everyone is different with it, regardless of how much of it you have or don't have.
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 9:20 am
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Okay maybe people don't care isn't the best way. People who can afford to spend more is more likely to care less than people who are budget travelers and want to get the most out of their loyalty.
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 9:31 am
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Originally Posted by MacMyDay
Agreed. I spend ~3 months a year in 5 star hotels and care about receiving something back for my loyalty. The funny thing with money is that everyone is different with it, regardless of how much of it you have or don't have.
I do receive a lot in return for my loyalty to Peninsula and Four Seasons, just not in the form of points.

I think high-end hotel groups should not have "loyalty programs." I do collect points if offered, but tend not to plan hotel stays around point earning or redemption.

To me true loyalty is having such a preference for a hotel that I rarely, if ever, even try a competing hotel in the same location. Staying at a hotel just to earn points has nothing to do with loyalty.

Point based programs work well for large hotel chains, but at the level of Four Seasons most properties are sufficiently differentiated that there is no need to offer points as an incentive to book. Of course, these hotels do lose some business from people who choose to stay where they can earn points, but that is still less costly for them than the risk of dumbing down their hotels by offering points.
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Old Jun 8, 2015, 1:36 pm
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I completely agree with you, Mike. The loyalty/benefits we receive from The Connaught is beyond anything that any loyalty programme would add, but Maybourne only has 3 hotels and they're all in London. I just don't think it works that cos you can afford $500/n, that you don't care about receiving something back.
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