The purpose of offering a promotion is to gain interaction, drive incremental sales, and engage a customer base. But when your promotion is so bad that customers don’t respond, why run one at all?
Promotions Are Important to Drive Incremental Activity
A certain amount of customers will make a purchase decision no matter what. In the case of hotels that purchase decision may be down to location, cost, amenities or brand. But for those at the periphery, where competition could win the day, promotions are one way to earn the business from those who might be subject to go elsewhere.
Promotions, especially with hotel chains, have a way of delivering that incremental business. It’s a cheaper way of getting guests into hotels across the business without engaging in price wars. It also aims at those who have the ability to steer the economic decisions and encourage their best customers to even further entrench themselves with the business.
Fall and winter are particularly important times to bring more heads into beds for hotels as holiday periods can slow normal business travel.
IHG’s Promotions Have Gotten Worse Over Time
The Accelerate promotions that IHG have offered have been positive for some in the past. When I had a customer that required me to choose between IHG and Hilton, IHG won out for a time due to the quality of the Accelerate offers I received.
I used to recieve offers for over 100,000 IHG points. The activity required to achieve that would make me touch a number of different brands, stay during the week using business rates, weekends, and usually about 20-25 nights during the period.
This year I remain a Spire with IHG (my earned Spire status last two years) but haven’t stayed with the brand at all. You’d think I would be a target to get back into the fold – I have spent more than 180 nights with the brand in the previous 24 months.
In the latest quarter, my personalized Accelerate promotion has just 28,900 points on offer and requires just 6 nights to earn the points. How does that help either of us? I don’t have enough incentive to get back with the brand (bonus too low) and the brand might pick up six nights from me, but that’s not a terrific prize for them either.
The brand also recently changed their once very popular Pointsbreak promotion from 5,000 points per night for an extensive list to limiting the list and adding segments for 10,000 and 15,000 points per night. Initially, I hoped the new higher point offerings would bring better hotels into the promotion. Maybe it did, but customers aren’t responding.
Promotions With Low Response Rate Reflect Poor Value
Loyalty Traveler recently posted that many of the, once extremely popular, Pointsbreak properties remain available long after they were posted for the quarter.
That’s not good.
It’s specifically poor when you place into context that Pointsbreaks were once snatched up almost immediately, creating so much excitement that posts would come out with preview lists the days ahead so enthusiasts could plot their redemptions as soon as they were released. Adding injury to insult, those points can be purchased for as little as $5/1,000 points – meaning that even $25-75/night rooms are completely uninspiring.
When interest drops off on $25/night rooms – things have taken a turn for the worse.
It’s no secret that IHG hates their elites; their Spire requirements are the highest in the industry and yield the fewest benefits. But now that Accelerate has fallen off, and even $25 hotel nights with Pointsbreaks don’t inspire their membership, maybe it’s time that IHG reconsiders loyalty.
What do you think? What are some of the worst promotions you’ve seen? Is there something I am missing with IHG’s offering? Why don’t they try harder?