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July 9, 2015

GBTA: How Hotel Loyalty Programs Affect Corporate Travel Programs

New research from the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association, found that two-thirds (66 percent) of Corporate Travel Managers feel that hotel loyalty programs play at least a “slightly important” role in their negotiations with hotels and one in five admit they play a “very important” or “extremely important” role. 
The study, Making Hotel Loyalty Programs Work for You and Your Travel Program, sponsored by Hilton Worldwide, surveyed more than 200 U.S. Corporate Travel Managers and revealed that hotel loyalty programs are an important consideration for many Travel Managers when choosing preferred hotels. The survey also noted that the primary role that loyalty programs play for Travel Managers is encouraging corporate travel policy compliance and driving greater volume to preferred hotels. One-third of Travel Managers say they actively inform travelers about hotel loyalty programs.
According to the study, 78 percent of Travel Managers are allowed to use individual hotel loyalty accounts when traveling for business. Travel Managers almost universally say travelers can keep the points or rewards earned through business travel for their own personal use.
“Most loyalty programs reward individual travelers for staying at hotel chains, but these programs can also align with the goals of corporate travel programs to promote compliance, improve traveler satisfaction and extract value from hotel stays,” Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research, said in a statement. “While the primary goal of loyalty programs is to incentivize travelers to be brand loyal, continued partnerships with Travel Managers should prevail.”
The study also found high interest in both corporate hotel loyalty programs and adding incentive to individual programs to encourage booking through authorized channels. A large majority (77 percent) of Travel Managers are “somewhat interested” or “very interested” in a corporate loyalty program that rewards companies through various discounts and perks and 72 percent are also “somewhat interested” or “very interested” in allowing travelers to belong to individual loyalty programs to accrue points more quickly if they booked through a channel agreed upon by both the Travel Manager and the hotel.
GBTA’s Joseph Bates will present the results of this study in an education session called New Trends in Hotel Loyalty Programs: What Works for Travel Managers and What Doesn't at GBTA Convention 2015 in Orlando on Monday, July 27 at 11:30am.
The study, Making Hotel Loyalty Programs Work for You and Your Travel Program, is available exclusively to GBTA members. Non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing [email protected]. Click here to view an abstract of this research. 

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