60 Seconds with Best Western Gold Crown Club Int'l

60 Seconds with Best Western Gold Crown Club Int'l

We reviewed Best Western’s Gold Crown Club International in this month’s Inside Look program review and had the opportunity to interview Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western International.

InsideFlyer
While most Best Western hotels are located in North America, almost half are located overseas. In which area(s) are you experiencing the greatest growth?
Dorothy Dowling
Best Western is experiencing tremendous growth in Asia, where it is quickly becoming one of the largest hotel chains on the continent. It is on pace to have more than 200 properties by 2010 — expanding from just six hotels in 2001 to more than 110 today.

IF
What does Best Western have to offer frequent business travelers?
Dowling
One of the main benefits for business travelers is Best Western’s all inclusive pricing. In most cases, the price of the room includes parking, high-speed Internet access and breakfast. Location is another benefit — with nearly 2,400 properties in North America, chances are, there’s a Best Western where you’re doing business.

In addition, Gold Crown Club International, Best Western’s rewards program, is one of the industry’s most generous rewards programs and one of a few that is truly global.

IF
What’s the difference between Gold Crown Club International and Speed Rewards?
Dowling
Gold Crown Club International is Best Western’s rewards program for consumers. Speed Rewards is a special branch of GCCI geared to NASCAR fans.

In addition to being able to redeem points for the same items as other GCCI members, Speed Rewards members can also purchase NASCAR merchandise, such as racing jackets and wheeled coolers, with their points.

Interestingly, Best Western was the first hotel chain to create loyalty programs for special interest groups, like NASCAR fans and Harley-Davidson motorcycle riders.

People who really want to rack up miles should think about enrolling in another special GCCI program geared to members of AAA and CAA. AAA Preferred and CAA Preferred GCCI members earn 10 percent bonus points on every stay, best-in-market seasonal promotion offers and often double and triple points during seasonal promotions.

IF
You introduced Gold Crown Club International Ride Rewards for Harley Davidson enthusiasts this year. How did the partnership come about?
Dowling
Like Harley-Davidson, Best Western’s heritage is deeply rooted along America’s scenic highways and byways. Both brands are synonymous with road travel. We have teamed up to offer special benefits to motorcycle enthusiasts.

IF
In January of last year, you instituted a “no point expiration rule” for North American Gold Crown Club members. Why change the policy and do points still expire for non-U.S. based members?
Dowling
The policy was changed as a benefit to members so that they can always use the points they’ve accumulated. In our European affiliate Gold Crown Club programs, points still do expire.

IF
Could you name two or three of your most popular awards?
Dowling
Redeeming points for free room nights is the most popular award. Gift cards to Target and Home Depot, both in denominations of $25, are the second and third most popular, respectively.

IF
Best Western is the first hotel chain to add a downloadable “Knock Knock” tool that delivers hotel specials to your desktop. How has the response been?
Dowling
“Knock Knock” is a fairly new program, but so far we’ve been pleased with the response from consumers. We anticipate it will get even better as we plan on promoting it more in the upcoming months.

IF
The Web site mentions that you will be able to store a Gold Crown Club International member number to the “Knock Knock” tool in the future. When do you expect to add this function and how will it benefit members?
Dowling
Consumers are able to do that now, and storing this information lets us tailor specific offers to them based on the preferences specified in their GCCI account. Members benefit by receiving promotional offers and up-to-date information from Best Western International.

IF
Do you have any new or upcoming partnerships you can tell us about?
Dowling
We recently added Hainan Airlines as a partner. We’ll have other partners coming on board in 2008 and will keep you updated.

IF
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about Gold Crown Club International?
Dowling
GCCI will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2008 … stay tuned for exciting promotions and contests!

Leave a Reply

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