Is that a juice box in the mini bar?


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The next frontier in hotel loyalty marketing may reside in a guest who can barely reach the hair dryer and prefers maraschino cherries to Manhattans.

Turns out an increasing number of business travelers are bringing their spouses and kids along, and tacking on a few additional days for a little family vacation.

Loyalty marketers should see this as a rich opportunity not only to add different rewards, but also to create value in services that may often be overlooked or taken for granted. By merging business travel with recreational travel, loyalty members are expanding the potential portfolio of meaningful perks well beyond faster check-in times and suite upgrades. Instead, a children’s movie network and extra beds could be most valued by loyal guests.

A recent story in USA Today hints at so much. It cites a recent survey by Hilton’s Homewood Suites, which shows that 67 percent of its frequent customers now combine leisure and business travel. This compares with 43 percent in a similar survey taken 2000. One of the business travelers interviewed for the story said he is in fact a more demanding customer when his family is with him, asking for club access and a bigger room.

I myself have combined work and leisure travel, and what I value does shift as I transition from worker bee to travel bug. Complimentary breakfast is less important than complimentary cocktails, for instance. And wouldn’t it be nice, if on Friday, I was automatically texted a few suggested day trips, at a discount, from the hotel?

Smart hotel chains are already exploring such rewards – today’s little guests will become tomorrow’s business, after all. Perhaps one or two chains will even designate a “kids wing” that separates those who wake very early from those of us who like to stay up late.

In the meantime, hospitality’s biggest players might want to consider mini-refrigerators and string cheese. It could earn them extra points.

Lisa Biank Fasig
Lisa leads the creation of editorials and feature stories for COLLOQUY and oversees the work of contributing editors and writers. With 18 years of reporting experience, most in business and specifically consumer behavior, she is highly skilled at researching data and teasing out the trends. A background in graphic design enables her to see ideas in three dimensions and tell the story visually.


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