60 Seconds with Carlson Hotels Worldwide

60 Seconds with Carlson Hotels Worldwide

Minneapolis-based Carlson Hotels Worldwide (think Radisson, Park Plaza and Country Inns) has just announced the launch of a revised loyalty program, goldpoints plus.

We were able to chat with Tony Hart, director, Customer Relationship Management, Carlson Hotels, to get some background and details on the new program.

InsideFlyer
How long have you been working on this transformation? What was the push on this?

Hart
What we started out to do is to take an overall look at the program. We had a few major objectives. The first was to look at it from a guest standpoint. What is it the guests are asking for? How can we better serve their needs? And then drive loyalty to our brand. We wanted to make sure this program would encompass all of our hotel brands. We also have an overall objective to make the program more global. When we looked at planning this, we had to look to see what would get our guests’ attention. One of the things we heard over and over was that elite status was very important.

InsideFlyer
Is there a standard group of amenities that the elite members will have?

Hart
Our plan starting in February is to give every loyalty guest a little amenity when they check in. There would be an upgraded amenity for elite members. In addition, they’ll have a dedicated elite customer service line at no additional cost.

InsideFlyer
I see elite members will be able to convert points into a credit card reward program. I’m assuming you’re referring to American Express Membership Rewards?

Hart
Yes, we’re talking about Membership Rewards.

InsideFlyer
So, the conversion into Membership Rewards takes the place of conversion into frequent flyer miles?

Hart
Elite members will have both of those options.

InsideFlyer
Are there any limitations?

Hart
It’s going to encompass everything we have in the Gold Points Rewards network. In fact, it’s expanded. So there are no limits for our guests.

InsideFlyer
On earning 10 points per U.S. dollar spent: Is that on full folio [the bill for the entire stay] or room night only?

Hart
Room night only. We have later phases planned, and we hope to add full folio for our full-service brands later in 2005.

InsideFlyer
On achieving elite level status faster than in any other program: Is it points earned or room nights or stays?

Hart
We’re going points earned. You will become Silver elite after only 5,000 points. That can be achieved after two to four nights with us. Faster if you are doing a lot of online shopping. Gold level will be 10,000 points to achieve status.

InsideFlyer
The 5,000 points will get you to elite — does it mater how you earn those points?

Hart
You have to have at least a one-night stay to qualify. After one stay your accumulated point totals will drive you to elite status.

InsideFlyer
Do you think it will be another year or two before the global portion is up and running?

Hart
We hope [it will be ready] by the end of 2005. We’ll be doing a lot of research to make sure we’re meeting our members’ needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *