Skift Take

When it finally launches, West Elm Hotels' loyalty program may feature some keen integration with the Williams-Sonoma network at large. It's a smart business tie-up that could eventually end in other brands.

Details on West Elm Hotels’ loyalty program are finally starting to come together as the hotel chain prepares for launch next year.

The news came from David Bowd, one of the three founders behind DDK hotels, the group that is under contract to ultimately manage the West Elm chain. In an interview with Barbara Bohn in Hotels magazine, Bowd revealed that Williams-Sonoma, the parent company of West Elm, plans to establish a cross-network loyalty scheme.

“Williams-Sonoma is launching their loyalty program later this year. And when the hotels launch, they will be part of that loyalty program… It will be inclusive within the entire Williams-Sonoma loyalty base.

“What I think is very exciting and interesting is the ability to stay in a hotel and use those rewards towards a home good or a mixer in Williams-Sonoma, or a sofa in West Elm. It will be something that’s not out there right now because of the nature of the retail space of Williams-Sonoma.”

It’s not exactly clear what Bowd is referring to in terms of Williams-Sonoma’s upcoming loyalty program. Williams-Sonoma brands already have a loyalty program called The Key, though it’s possible that that system could be retooled or scrapped altogether. At publication, Williams-Sonoma’s team declined to confirm any details of the final program or even if The Key would remain in place.

What’s clear, however, is that the group plans to tie West Elm’s hotel loyalty program to the Williams-Sonoma network at large. If this works, it would be one of the only loyalty programs to successfully combine a hospitality loyalty program with a brick-and-mortar extension.

The Key currently offers members three percent credit back on any purchase across the Williams-Sonoma network, including at Pottery Barn, West Elm and Mark and Graham. If that percentage return were extended to hotel stays, travelers could potentially earn $9–12 dollars of store credit by staying in a $300–$400 hotel room each night.

Logically, creating an incentive for Williams-Sonoma and West Elm store purchases is also good business. West Elm hotels by design would take advantage of the brand’s aesthetic and even some of the store’s direct furniture when appointing properties. If visitors like the style, it makes sense to facilitate a transaction.

Some hotels already do this. Westin Hotels, which make much ado about the Heavenly mattresses installed in each room, sells the bedding separately through a dedicated store. Williams-Sonoma may just take that to the next level by selling the hardware and providing an incentive to buy it.

If the model works, it may also extend to other lifestyle stores that are experimenting with hotel chains. Earlier this summer, Muji announced plans to start its own hotel chain while Restoration Hardware is also in the works. Perhaps soon, we’ll all be able to earn credit toward trendy and collegiate-inspired casualwear by staying at the Abercrombie & Fitch hotels.

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Tags: loyalty

Photo credit: A promotional image of a room from West Elm Hotels. Details on West Elm Hotels' loyalty program are finally starting to come together. West Elm Hotels

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