Skift

Skift Business Traveler: A Closer Look at Kimpton’s New Karma Rewards Program

@grantkmartin

Jul 17, 2014 11:30 am


What to Know Now

Airbnb launched a new brand identity yesterday centered around their new Bélo logo. Reaction from the community was mixed — I personally thought the previous branding was great — but the vacation rental company thinks that the new strategy will help instill a sense of belonging among its users.

Whether that will happen through the Bélo is a long shot. Problem is, every brand wants to have their iconic logo imprinted onto your subconscious. It’s legendary. It’s tectonic. It’s vain. Adding a weird logo to a service that’s already uncomfortable and foreign for the lion’s share of its new customers is just going to create further confusion and chiding.

Settle. Down. Airbnb. You’ve got gobs of money and an enormous volume of properties — on your current course it’s almost impossible to fail. The vacation rental industry is yours to screw up.

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Top Story

With loyalty programs on the lamb these last few years, there’s plenty of space for disruption in the industry, so I give Kimpton full credit for overhauling their InTouch program this week.

The new program called Karma rewards uses a model that works well for the boutique customers that Kimpton really targets, taking advantage of both the number of stays accrued by a visitor and also social and interactive elements. Visitors who mention their stay on social media, for example, can earn extra loyalty points and the variety of in-house redemptions (including spa visits and mini-bar rewards) is much higher.

Business travelers looking for some variety away from the droll suite upgrades or free wifi may find some fresh angles in Karma Rewards as well, though it may be difficult to pull them away from their elite status and massive hotel networks. At the least, this should pump some nice innovation into the industry at large.

Our own Greg Oates gave a nice behind-the-scenes look Kimpton’s digital refresh yesterday morning. Give it a look here.

SOCIAL QUOTE OF THE DAY

The best (and filthiest) tweets about Airbnb’s new logo http://zite.to/1mWulLS  << in case you need a good laugh. :)

- @andyhayes | Andrew Hayes, creative web producer

​First Class staggered seat on the E2 Jet, Image Priestmangoode

Airlines

Airlines See Investment in Premium Seats Begin to Pay Off Again: Statistics revealed today by IATA show that the buzz of activity by airlines, upgrading cabins, and adding more lie-flat seats may be right on the money. Read more at Skift

Priestmangoode Unveils Its New Interior Designs for Embraer’s Commercial Jets: The new single aisle cabin design of Embraer’s E2 Commercial Jets was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show, designed by the world-renowned design studio Priestmangoode, London. Read more at Skift

Frequent Flier Loyalty Programs: Which Were Best and Worst in Terms of Satisfaction in 2014? With the frequent flier loyalty programs of United Airlines and Delta Air Lines changing to revenue-based models instead of models based on distance flown and requiring a minimum spend in order to be even considered for elite level status, earning it has become more difficult that ever — unless you are willing to spend more money on your travels: Read more at The Gate

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Airports

Travel Managers Worry TSA Mobile Rules Could Compromise Sensitive Data: Corporate travel managers in U.S. and Europe are “very concerned” about new UK and  TSA rules requiring travelers to power up electronic devices upon request at certain foreign airports that accommodate direct flights to the U.S. Read more at Skift

Istanbul Airport Is Trying to Decide How to Pay for Its Rapid Expansion: Sabiha Gokcen International, Europe’s fastest-growing airport, will decide soon whether to sell debut bonds or borrow money to refinance debt as it expands to meet estimated passenger growth of 28 percent this year. Read more at Skift

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Tech

Uber Launches in Hong Kong, Saying It is the Uber of Asia: Uber Technologies Inc. expanded into Hong Kong as the company builds on the growing demand for its popular ride-sharing service in Asia. Read more at Skift

KLM is the first to offer service through LinkedIn:  Effective today, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will offer 24/7 service via LinkedIn. Customers can approach KLM with general and flight-related queries on topics such as seat reservations, rebooking a ticket or making arrangements for extra baggage. KLM is the first in the world offering service via this business-oriented social media platform. Read more at KLM

Airbus Patented a Plan to Make Airplane Travel Even More Uncomfortable: In an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office, Airbus has sought a patent for an innovation in airplane seating—hinged bike saddles. Read more at Skift

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Hotels

Kimpton Launches a New Loyalty Program With a Secret Rewards Formula: Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants tossed out its points-based Kimpton InTouch loyalty program, and replaced it with a rewards program that uses a proprietary formula to assign members a cumulative score and loyalty tier based on room stays as well as “engagement” factors, including tweets, direct bookings, and attendance at wine hours or exercise classes. Read more at Skift

Inside Look: Behind Kimpton Hotels’ Complete Digital Overhaul: Kimpton Hotels launched an all-new version of its website this morning, designed by the San Francisco-based FINE agency, following the relaunch of the hotel group’s Life Is Suite travel blog in June. Read more at Skift

Millennials A Hard Sell for Hotels Despite All the Wooing: Despite all of the rhetoric about lifestyle-hotel brands and big chains going all-out to capture the allegiances of Millennial travelers, they are proving to be more critical of their hotel stays than other guests, especially if it is the first time they have experienced a specific hotel brand. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Wendy Perrin’s presence on Trip Advisor is starting to scale. Check out her latest on how to find fun in airports.

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm@skift.com and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Monday and Thursday.

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