Through customer feedback, officials for the Choice Privileges loyalty program at Choice Hotels International wanted to deliver an extra special thank-you to their Elite Members.

As a result, they unveiled additional membership benefits, reinforcing the program’s commitment to rewarding customers faster and more frequently than ever before.

All Choice Privileges Elite Members (Gold, Platinum, and Diamond levels) will be offered a complimentary welcome gift or bonus points across all 11 of Choice’s brands at check-in. This new Elite member recognition program begins on June 1, 2017, across all Cambria, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Sleep Inn, MainStay Suites, Quality Inn, and Clarion brand properties.

Ascend Hotel Collection, Econo Lodge, Rodeway, and Suburban Extended Stay hotel properties will start offering these Elite member gifts and bonus points on Aug. 1, 2017. This is in addition to perks Choice Privileges Elite members already enjoy, including complimentary upgrades, extended booking windows, exclusive reservation, customer service phone numbers, and Elite member offers.

Through July 31, 2017, all loyalty program members who book two separate qualifying stays at one of 11 Choice brands can earn enough points for a $50 gift card. To qualify for the summer promotion, guests must register at www.choicehotels.com/giftcard before check-out and book on www.choicehotels.com, the Choice Hotels mobile app, or by calling 800.4CHOICE. Corporate travelers can book in their online booking tool or through global distribution system.

Loyalty360 caught up with Jamie Russo, vice president of loyalty programs and customer engagement at Choice Hotels, to learn more about the new Elite Member benefits.

What factors prompted the launch of new benefits for Elite Members and did customer feedback play a role?
Russo: Customer feedback always plays a large role in everything that we do. It was a primary driver behind the success we have seen since last year’s relaunch of the Choice Privileges program and we continue to seek ways to drive guest satisfaction.

One opportunity that stood out came from Elite customer feedback. They told us recognition upon check-in for their high level of loyalty was very important to them. While the added benefits from the Choice Privileges relaunch gives all members greater and faster rewards, these newly unveiled Elite benefits take it one step further. We see this added layer as a ‘thank you’ for the business that our members actively choose to bring to our hotels. Plus, because the reasons for their trips vary, our Choice Privileges Elites asked for and are getting the flexibility of selecting more points or something to use immediately during their stay.

What are your goals for these new benefits from a customer engagement perspective?
Russo: Since the recent program relaunch, Choice Privileges has seen a 40 percent surge in enrollments. While that increase excites us, we are especially pleased to see a high level of engagement from our membership. That tells us the added rewards and benefits are meaningful and relevant to them.

With this latest enhancement, our overarching goal zeroes in on Elites, our most frequent guest. We wanted to show them gratitude for their continued business. We hope this extra perk can serve as another reason for Choice Privileges members to keep coming back to unlock even more.

Can you talk about the competition in the hotel industry, as it seems brands are adding new benefits to their respective loyalty programs to make them more attractive and engaging?
Russo: While we believe the Choice Privileges program offers the most to customers from the minute they join−such as Choice Privileges Member Rates, the lowest price guaranteed when they book directly on www.choicehotels.com or the Choice Hotels mobile app; immediate rewards upon check-in with our benefit called YourExtras; and the ability to instantly transfer to airlines through our RewardsExchange−we applaud and welcome the innovation throughout the industry. 

These changes are a reminder that there is no blanket solution to earning customer loyalty, so companies must keep innovating. It is also showing us at Choice Privileges that members care even more than they already did about what we are offering. With members more engaged than ever before, they are more willing to share their opinions and ideas. This dialogue with our members gives both our hotel owners and our team more ideas of how we can continue to improve and evolve, which we certainly plan to do.

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