Hilton Hotels will try to add more properties to its development pipeline by offering future franchisees enough points in the HHonors program to ostensibly send a family of four traveling around the world, according to Mike Beirne of Brandweek Magazine.
Hilton is the first major hotel operator to link its loyalty program to property development, Beirne said.
The hotel behemoth, along with GE Commercial Finance — a leading lender for franchise financing — is offering one million points for investors who take on loans of less than $10 million to open a new Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn or Homewood Suites by Hilton property.
Franchisees with loans exceeding $10 million will earn two million bonus points, which are awarded upon final loan dispersal.
Hilton currently has 2,300 properties with 364,374 rooms, and has about 520 hotels with 64,000 rooms in development as of June 30, Brandweek said.
Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton were the fastest growing brands (in terms of new properties) within the portfolio during the past six months.
Hotel property operators pay a percentage of their revenue to fund the loyalty programs, which typically disburse points that guests accumulate and redeem for free stays and merchandise.
The reasoning behind the promotion is simple: Occasionally, operators may be reticent to pay fees for frequent guest bonus promotions, but the loan incentive is expected to break down that hesitation. The program has been in the works for about a year.
“It’s really about getting investors into HHonors to show why it is valuable to the brand,” Cathleen Lewis, director of partnership marketing told Beirne. “The more they understand the program, the easier it is to get behind it.”