The Hilton is Divorcing Me

January 14, 2010by Jeane Kropp

The Hilton is divorcing me

I know, relationships are hard. They take work. And it appears that the Hilton is throwing in the towel on me. I got my walking papers from them in a cold-hearted email telling me that I’m on the brink of losing my HHonors status, one I’ve had for over a decade. They didn’t do what all therapists suggest—communicate! If only they would have asked me about my year; the decrease in travel, the relocation of some key clients, the husband in school that’s put a huge crimp in our typical jaunts. I haven’t changed my loyalty to the Hilton, it’s still my go-to hotel–but life changed a bit this year.

So, why am I airing my dirty laundry about this? I’d like to encourage companies to take a long-term view of their loyalty programs and have dialogue with your users. Loyalty programs can be low cost ways to keep people coming back. Yes, I understand they’re not free – you give away hotel rooms, upgrades, discounts. But rarely does a redeemer-of-points/miles/etc. not also spend money.

When we redeem our HHonors points for a free room, we almost always purchase additional nights, spend money in the restaurant (okay, the bar), buy a soda in the trinkets store, tip the concierge, the housekeeping staff and the valet. We contribute to the revenue stream. Without some benefit from the HHonors program, I will shop around a lot more, I will frequent boutique hotels, I will be less loyal. And they’re not even asking me why.

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