This year has been a banner one for the Hilton Honors loyalty program after the iconic brand overhauled the program, dropping the extra H, while adding new rewards and benefits, and increasing the flexibility of points.

Aaron Glick, vice president, Hilton Honors, talked to Loyalty360 about the evolution of the Hilton Honors loyalty program.

“At Hilton Honors, our mantra is to continuously innovate for our customers and to be the most guest-centric program in hospitality,” Glick explained. “With that in mind, 2017 has been a banner year for our members. In January, we announced a handful of updates to the 63-million-member Hilton Honors program, including four new industry-first perks and a brand-new logo. In focus groups and surveys around the world, members said they wanted more ways to redeem their Points, more flexibility, and more value. So, we rolled out new benefits in direct response to that feedback, knowing it’s what mattered most to our members.”

These new perks include: (1) Points & Money, giving members greater flexibility to book hotel stays with nearly any combination of earned Points and money; (2) Points Pooling, which lets members combine and “pool” their Points with up to 10 other family members/friends; (3) Diamond Status Extension, allowing eligible Diamond members to extend their status for a year when life puts travel on pause; and (4) Amazon Shop with Points (coming soon), which gives members the ability to redeem their Points for nearly anything on Earth through Amazon.com.

“Since announcing these four new benefits a few months ago, it’s been incredible to see the increased level of engagement across all our member tiers–from brand new Members to our elite Diamonds,” Glick added. “We’ve also celebrated some exciting achievements across Hilton, including the launch of new brands (Canopy, Tru, and Tapestry) and the opening of hundreds of new hotels like the Waldorf Beverly Hills and Conrad Bora Bora, bringing us to over 5,000 Hilton hotels around the world. In addition, our award-winning app continues to grow in popularity with game-changing features like Choose Your Room and Digital Key, which enables guests to skip the front desk and use their phone to go straight to their room. In fact, by the end of this year, Digital Key will be available at 2,500 hotels across the U.S., China, and the United Kingdom.”

As a global icon of hospitality for nearly 100 years, building direct, loyal relationships with guests has long been core to Hilton, Glick noted.

“And for us, next-gen hospitality includes advanced tools to deliver a more personalized customer experience,” he explained. “For example, every hotel has a daily customized report that shows the most frequent guests at that location and the personal preferences of those guests–perhaps their favorite beverage or whether they like to be near an elevator. Another key priority is Hilton Honors enrollments, which help us unlock greater value for customers. Upon becoming a Hilton Honors member, the customer gets complimentary access to on-property Wi-Fi, digital features through the app like Choose Your Room, and of course, the ability to earn and redeem Points. We’re encouraging every team member to sign up guests and speak to how Hilton Honors can maximize the Hilton experience.”

Glick said Hilton makes it a priority to frequently survey its members.

“Listening to feedback allows our hotels and the program to make the changes that matter most to our guests,” he added. “We saw that happen with the four new benefits we launched earlier this year, and we’ll continue to keep asking our members what we can do to make their stay experience even more exceptional.” 

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