Expanding Rewards: A 2024 Analysis of Hospitality Loyalty

The hospitality industry is broad, diverse, and ever-changing, as are travelers' and loyalty members' preferences and expectations. That’s why a one-size-fits-all loyalty solution will always fail to achieve the engagement and retention goals of every hotel, casino hotel, vacation rental, or other hospitality brand.    

Our State of Loyalty: 2024 Hospitality Rewards Report, serves as the industry benchmark for loyalty programs offered by leading hotel brands worldwide. The fifth edition of the report, this year’s study provides a comprehensive picture of the current state of the world’s leading hotel loyalty programs and identifies significant trends in their earning and redemption strategies. 

The 2024 analysis uncovered a broad-based expansion trend, with many hotels increasing the earning and redemption options available over several reward categories. We also found a growing focus on sustainability and new connections between big hotel brands and their vacation rental and ownership divisions.   

What do these findings suggest? Hotels are expanding their rewards programs to overcome a key challenge. 

Efforts to Grow Share-of-Wallet 

That challenge is increasing share-of-wallet. According to a McKinsey study, hotel loyalty programs capture only around 50% of a traveler’s overall spending compared to airlines and cruises, which garner closer to 60%. This indicates that travelers are less likely to concentrate their spending within a single hotel chain compared to airlines or cruises.   

To grow that share, more hotels are allowing guests to earn and burn points for on-site activities like dining at restaurants, indulging in spa treatments, or even hotel-hosted events or activities. When loyalty members can earn and redeem points on-property more easily, they are more likely to continue spending with the hotel brand during their stay.   

Adding to this focus on diverse rewards, more hospitality brands in our analysis are now allowing loyalty members to donate points to sustainability-related causes, which is vital considering sustainability is increasingly a priority for travelers. 

More Sustainability Options in Loyalty Programs   

While still in its early stages, some hotels incorporate sustainability into their loyalty programs. This reflects the consistent growth of eco-conscious travelers.  

Some hotel loyalty programs incentivize guests to make eco-friendly choices during their stay, like declining housekeeping service to save water and/or energy. And for those who want to make a more direct impact, many programs now allow members to donate their points to environmental causes supported by the hotel chain. This empowers guests to contribute to a greener future while fostering a sense of community and purpose with the hotel brand. 

Increased Earn and Burn for Non-Traditional Lodging 

Introducing more sustainability-related rewards isn’t the only way the hospitality industry is adapting to travel preferences. Our analysis also found that many major hotel brands are making it easier for loyalty members to earn and use points at vacation rental properties. Some hotel brands in our report expanded points earning and redemption privileges for members staying at vacation rental or vacation club under the same brand umbrella, Other hotel brands have partnered with separate vacation rental companies and made it possible for loyalty members to earn points while staying at those partner properties.    

For travelers, this means more choices. More hotel loyalty programs are allowing members to redeem points for stays at vacation rentals alongside traditional hotel rooms. This caters to diverse needs, especially for families and budget-conscious travelers who value extra space and  amenities privacy.  

For hotels, it expands their reach to capture travelers with differing preferences and in a broader range of destinations. Ultimately, this flexibility enhances the guest experience by offering a wider range of accommodation options to suit various travel styles and budgets. 

Download the report to read our full analysis of the hospitality loyalty landscape and benchmark your hotel against the competition. 

Contact us to learn how iSeatz can elevate your hospitality loyalty program, deepen engagement with members, and increase their overall spend.  

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To learn more about our work with travel and financial services brands and their loyalty programs, contact us here. 

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