Wyndham begins offering loyalty discounts
They may be a little late to the game, but members of Wyndham Hotel Group’s loyalty scheme will now be able to avail of discounted room rates. But why now, and what does this means for members of Wyndham Rewards?
Catching up with the loyalty trend
It was surprising to many in the hospitality industry that it took Wyndham Hotel Group so long to implement discounted room rates for their loyalty members. While many of their contemporaries and peers in the luxury sector have been giving their members discounts on rooms since as far back as 2016, Wyndham have held off, only announcing the news of the new scheme recently. There was a period in 2016 where Wyndham Rewards offered a discount of 15 – 25%, but this was only for a short space of time, whereas this new discount seems to be a permanent fixture of the loyalty scheme. The new discount offered to Wyndham’s 53 million loyalty customers will give them 10% off the price of a room if they book through the Wyndham platform. Eliot Hamlisch, who runs the rewards scheme, says that this discount is “among the most generous in the industry”, with competitors such as Choice Hotels offering up to 7 percent, Hilton up to 10 percent on weekends, Hyatt up to 10 percent, IHG from 2 to 10 percent depending on region and Marriott up to 2 percent on weekdays and up to 5 percent on weekends.
The price of loyalty
Many are wondering what prompted Wyndham to implement the new discount. Geoff Ballotti, CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, said, “It gets down to a number of different things. It gets down to our technology platform, it gets down to our digital platform, it gets down to our website, it gets down to our relationships with our OTA partners. All of those things come together and we have been focusing on laying down the foundation for our property management central reservation system. Our websites have all transformed dramatically in the last two years.” Wyndham’s website was updated recently to have better mobile compatibility as well as giving customers, especially ones holding loyalty cards, a better user experience. It also seems that this new discount is designed to encourage holders to book their stay through the Wyndham website, as those wishing to claim the discount must be logged in as a member on Wyndham’s platform. This will drive traffic through the Wyndham site and away from booking sites like Booking.com or Hotels.com. However, some debate the true price of the loyalty schemes and say that it leaves the hotel bearing the cost of the discount. But Hamlisch contests this, saying “The value that the program and our member base is providing to [franchisees] is what carries the day. If we can continue to do that, which we have, the will continue to be happy.” He also added that there has been an small rise in direct bookings since the scheme was put into place.
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