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At their absolute base, loyalty programs are relatively simple: Brands reward customers for their continued business and, in return, customers come to feel a genuine bond with the company through continued touch points. The basis of this concept, however, is that customers are only rewarded for shopping at that brand or, in the case of some loyalty coalitions, at partnered stores.
Stash Hotel Rewards, however, is far from a typical loyalty program and is turning this foundation on its head. This is because Stash, a loyalty program that spans various independent hotel locations, is now awarding members with points, regardless of where they stay.
Stash members will earn a reduced number of points (one point per dollar, as opposed to five per dollar, earned at Stash partnered hotels) when staying at other hotels, which can then be redeemed for free stays at Stash Partners.
“We know that travelers can’t always stay at an amazing Stash Partner Hotel,” said Jeff Low, CEO of Stash Hotel Rewards. “Now, even if you’re stuck staying a chain hotel, you can still earn points toward a free night at a one-of-a-kind independent hotel.”
The objective of this reward structure is surprising, but likely not ineffective. With this system in place, customers will be earning points toward staying with partner hotels even when staying elsewhere, ideally culminating at an eventual free stay at one of the independent locations.
What’s more, the program remains top of mind for customers, even while engaging with larger chain hotels. With so many opportunities to earn these points, Stash can (and has) feasibly lay claim to being “the world’s most widely available hotel loyalty currency.”
Of course, guests won’t be able to earn these points without any sort of engagement with Stash: Travelers will need to book through the program’s website to earn points.
Whether the strategy to reward stays at non-Stash hotels pays off remains to be seen, but by subverting traditional loyalty thinking, the company has created extreme interest in its innovation, and sometimes that’s the most valuable result of all.
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