Officials at Best Western Hotels & Resorts have the utmost pride in their award-winning loyalty program, Best Western Rewards® (BWR®).
To exemplify that pride, they issued a ‘throwdown’ to competitors framed by a boxing-themed video and social media campaign aimed at demonstrating the leadership of Best Western Rewards. Included in the campaign is a round-by-round description of the program:
Round One: Points Stamina
BWR came out blazing in Round One and with a surprising opening punch of points that never expire. BWR quickly began crushing the competition whose points expire due to inactivity.
Round Two: Strength of Rate Discounts
With a minimum 10 percent rate discount, BWR delivers a right jab followed by a left hook. BWR’s closest rivals do not offer discounts that match the program’s value.
Round Three: Reward Flexibility
In this test of flexibility, BWR comes out on top, with the lowest number of points required to earn a $25 gift card. BWR’s 6,000-point threshold is just too low for the competition to withstand.
Round Four: Speed to Elite
BWR delivers one final crushing blow, providing the fastest way to get to top status. The company offers elite members a 10 percent discount on all free night redemptions and guaranteed free nights for Diamond and Diamond Select members at properties with availability. BWR also offers no blackout dates for free nights.
Results: TKO–BWR takes the best hotel loyalty program title in a clean sweep!
Loyalty360 talked to Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Best Western Hotels and Resorts, about this unique and daring campaign.
What factors prompted this campaign that is filled with pride of accomplishment and a challenge to others in the hotel industry?
Dowling: Best Western recently completed a refresh of our Best Western Rewards program to provide one of the richest loyalty programs in the industry. We created this fun, lighthearted campaign to communicate the strengths of our program to consumers and showcase where we believe Best Western ranks among our competitors in the loyalty space.
What elements of your award-winning loyalty program give you the most pride?
Dowling: Best Western Rewards is the only program in the industry where points never expire. Unlike other loyalty programs, our members’ points do not expire due to inactivity.
According to a study we conducted with U.S. News & World Report, more than one-third of respondents stated that expiring points is their biggest pet peeve when it comes to loyalty programs. Another element of our program that we are proud of is the fact that our members receive a minimum 10 percent rate discount, providing them with an even more affordable stay at our properties. Additionally, we offer elite members a 10 percent discount on all free night redemptions and guaranteed free nights for Diamond and Diamond Select members at properties with availability. Finally, when redeeming free nights there are no blackout dates.
What do you think sets BW apart in the industry from a customer loyalty perspective?
Dowling: We take great pride in the fact that we have designed one of the richest programs in the industry based upon customer feedback. Listening to the voice of the consumer has guided us throughout our recent Best Western Rewards refresh, ultimately creating a program that truly rewards our members for their loyalty while meeting the needs of today’s travelers.
What are some of the things you've learned from customer feedback in recent years that have informed your loyalty program moving forward?
Dowling: Guest loyalty remains a major focus in the travel sector and a top priority for Best Western. Guest feedback was critical in making changes to our program including the delivery of easily redeemable rewards, a new digital membership card for ease and convenience, and unrivaled exceptional discounts, perks, and promotions.
We partnered with U.S. News & World Report to launch a co-branded hotel loyalty program study designed to gather insight into how today’s travelers make their loyalty program decisions. The results, acquired from more than 1,000 respondents, found that the expiration of points, ease of point redemption, guaranteed room availability, and brand trust are important factors shaping the current hotel loyalty landscape. Respondents indicated that Best Western performed exceptionally well in a number of critical areas.