This is an older mention from back in 2010 when we launched the VIP hotel upgrade program when I was leading Loyalty at Expedia, but since it was in the New York Times I thought I would share. The program has continued after I left and is now a key revenue driver for the company globally. I’ll talk more about how these tier-based loyalty programs work when I get to that section in the book.
Here is the excerpt:
When members of Elite Plus (www.expediaeliteplus.com), Expedia’s frequent-guest rewards program, stay at selected properties, they are automatically upgraded on arrival, if a higher-grade suite is vacant.
Since October, the online travel agency has been slowly rolling out the service, beginning at 84 hotels in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and other cities in Florida. By the end of this month, hotels in Atlanta; Charleston, S.C.; Denver; Los Angeles; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; and Seattle will be offering the upgrades. Participating hotels display the “VIP Access” logo on their Expedia listings.
“Some hotel managers add other perks, like a bottle of Champagne,” said Edward Nevraumont, senior director of customer loyalty at Expedia.
Expedia is the first of the major online travel agencies to provide gratis hotel upgrades automatically to high-spending travelers. Customers are enrolled in Elite Plus by default after they book through the site at least 15 hotel stays in a year, or more than $10,000 in hotels and airfares annually.
Major hotel chains, like Starwood and Marriott, have long provided upgrades to the estimated one million Americans who spend about $10,000 a year or more on travel. And some independent hotels have also banded together to create loyalty programs, such as Stash Hotel Rewards and Leaders Club Rewards from the Leading Hotels of the World.
Here is the full article: