Sharing is caring. But it can also drive viral marketing for a hotel loyalty program.
Hyatt said on Thursday it would improve its hotel loyalty program in January. Hyatt’s most notable change will be to expand the ability of program members to give some benefits to friends and family in one-off gifts.
Some backstory: Hyatt’s loyalty program has, since 2015, included a perk that allows elite members to extend their perks to others occasionally. Called Guest of Honor, the benefit has let members with its highest status tier, Globalist, give someone else the same benefits for one stay without being present.
“For our members who have been able to set up stays for people that they care about, the feedback has been very positive, and usage is quite high,” said Beth Lubotsky, head of loyalty strategy.
Hyatt’s perk is rare. The only other major hotel group to allow loyalty members to share benefits with non-members is Hilton, which lets members who stay certain thresholds of nights in a given year (such as 60 nights a year) give status to another member.
Hyatt Making It Easier to Share Perks
Hyatt said on Wednesday it would ease some of the restrictions on Guest of Honor, making it easier for members to share benefits. Until now, a Globalist member could only share their benefits by booking a trip on behalf of someone else, using points or certificates. But come January, they’ll be able to extend Globalist benefits to someone who booked and paid for a trip on their own. Benefits include free breakfast and the possibility of a free late checkout.
Hyatt is also broadening the base of its most frequent customers who can give the perks.
Only members with Globalist status — earned after achieving feats such as staying 60 nights a year — have been able to do this. After January, Hyatt will introduce a “milestone reward” for members who have stayed at least 40 nights or earned at least 65,000 base points in a year. This reward lets select non-Globalists also bestow Guest of Honor awards on others for stays of up to a week.
To coax members to share perks in this way, Hyatt will reward members who bestow Guest of Honor on someone else with one qualifying night credit towards tier status.
Hyatt plans to make other perks shareable for its most frequent guests.
“Club access awards, suite upgrade awards, and awards we’re introducing — like an extra night at Miraval resorts for qualified activity — all of those will now be able to be gifted from one member to another,” Lubotsky said.
Hyatt Loyalty Changes for Professional Travel Bookers
Hyatt is also expanding the perk-sharing power to professional travel bookers. Qualified meeting and event planners, travel advisors, and executive assistants will earn milestone rewards after meeting thresholds for bookings of eligible events. These professionals will be able to earn and gift Globalist status under certain circumstances that weren’t previously possible.
“A meeting planner who’s planning a really big meeting is rarely doing that by themselves,” Lubotsky said. “So they may earn significant status and milestone rewards for planning this big meeting. But because of the gifting that we’re introducing, they can then turn around and share those rewards with the colleagues who helped them plan as well.”
Hyatt claimed it had the fastest-growing loyalty program in the hotel industry. To sustain momentum, it will change the World of Hyatt program in many ways. Changes include new qualification terms for tier statuses, new milestone rewards, new awards for people who stay 150 nights a year, and new awards involving Miraval wellness resorts.