Traditional travel loyalty programs are becoming less common as travelers prioritize value and experience over membership status. Our Digital IQ Index: Prestige Hotels finds loyalty members allocate just half of what they spend on hotels to their preferred brand.That does not mean loyalty programs are dead; they just need to evolve. A few brands are changing their loyalty programs to reflect changes in how people book travel.
Marriott Rewards launched its “Plus Points” program in May to award loyalty program members points for likes, follows, and shares. Members can receive 250 points for a share, retweet, geo-tagged Instagram photo, or Foursquare check-in. JetBlue launched a similar program in 2011, giving members 25 TrueBlue points in exchange for checking in at an airport on Facebook. Those to be one of the first 100 checking into Boston’s Logan International, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Long Beach, New York’s John F. Kennedy International or Orlando International airports will receive 100 points. (5,000 points equals a flight.) MGM Resorts International also has a loyalty program for its M Life members, who can get up to 6,000 points a day by checking in, tweeting or updating a status at MGM locations.
The situation is a win-win for travelers eager to broadcast their location, and for brands. Likes on Marriott Hotel & Resorts Facebook page have multiplied by five, from 110 to 500 new likes per day. And, brand hashtags #LoveMarriottRewards and #RenHotels have been tweeted more than 2,800 and 1,000 times in May respectively.