Intelligence – May, 21 2003

Intelligence – May, 21 2003

Six Continents has changed its name — again. Say hello to InterContinental Hotels Group. By our reckoning, this is at least the third name change in four years. Don’t confuse the new name with the long-established InterContinental hotels (one of the many Six Continent…or rather, InterContinental brands) or its unique loyalty program called Six Continents Club. Still with us? … Best Western has eighty-sixed its participation in US Airways Dividend Miles … JetBlue announced that about 600,000 people have signed up for TrueBlue since its launch in June 2002. About 1,500 to 2,000 people register for the program every day on the airline’s Web site, and members account for about 20 percent of online sales. TrueBlue members accounted for 15.6 percent of JetBlue’s revenue last quarter … CanJet Airlines, eastern Canada’s low-fare leader, has announced the launch of its own frequent flyer program, SmartRewards. Customers who have already registered on the Web site are automatically enrolled and will begin earning reward points for bookings … Loyalty marketing experts at Colloquy.com are decidedly not on the fence when it comes to Delta’s recent Medallion changes. Said a representative from Colloquy: “Loyalty programs are designed to reward and recognize a company’s most profitable customers — not the ones who are only loyal to the cheapest fares or the lowest prices.” … Hilton will stop giving HHonors points to customers who book their rooms on Web sites such as Expedia.com and Hotels.com. A letter to customers due out this summer will notify HHonors members of the change. In theory, one or two forgetful bookings will be forgiven, but after a couple warnings, don’t expect those points unless you book on Hilton’s own Web sites. The change applies to all Hilton brands — Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites. Rooms booked through a travel agent, with individual hotels or through Hilton’s own reservation centers will continue to earn points. Our sources indicate that the change will not affect too many, as very few HHonors members book on third-party sites (just over one percent of Hilton’s revenue comes from such online bookings) … Wyndham Hotels & Resorts chairman Fred Kleisner stated on a conference call that the hotel chain’s loyalty program, Wyndham By Request, “contributed to our first quarter results, with occupancy up and continued explosive growth of the membership of Wyndham By Request. We have seen double digit growth in our proprietary Web site, wyndham.com, and have been able to increase average daily rate from this distribution channel.” By Request members spent approximately 33 percent more per stay than non-members, and membership grew to approximately 1.4 million. Moving forward, Wyndham will launch a Kids ByRequest program geared around giving a personalized guest experience to children.

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