Skift Take

While Mandarin Oriental's loyalty program doesn't offer the same lucrative points that many competing programs have, it does have some valuable perks. Best of all, the program is free and accessible to everyone.

Luxury hotel group Mandarin Oriental has a new loyalty program called Fans of M.O.

A play off of the brand’s iconic fan logo, the aptly named loyalty program – which the group calls a guest recognition program – provides many of the perks that a larger-scale product might offer in a more simplified and direct format. To date, Mandarin Oriental has only employed light partnerships with airlines like British Airways to encourage loyalty while a separate Fan Club was built out for travel agents.

The majority of the utility around Fans of M.O. revolves around perks allocated at each stay. At check-in, members of the program can select two perks from among the following:

  • Early check-in
  • Late check-out
  • Daily breakfast
  • Dining or spa credit
  • Room upgrade
  • Streaming Wi-Fi
  • Celebratory Treat
  • Pressing Services

Members don’t get reward points good for redeeming free or discounted hotel nights. In that way, the program seems to be less about earning status and more about simply rewarding engaged travelers, and perhaps collecting preference data about them.

Since there is no way to qualify for status or elite tiers, the rewards offered by Mandarin Oriental are open to everyone who signs up for the program – and they can be quite lucrative. Within the Starwood Preferred Guest program, for example, all members earn free in-room Wi-Fi, but only platinum members (earned after 50 nights or 25 stays) are awarded room upgrades. By contrast, all of those perks are selectively available to anyone who simply signs up for Fans of M.O.

Though the basic reward strategy used by Fans of M.O. may not be a great fit for a worldwide powerhouse like Hilton, Marriott or Starwood, it’s a good match for the boutique brand.

Mandarin Oriental operates 28 ultra-luxury hotels around the world and doesn’t have any allied partnerships with other brands. Since luxury bookings at its hotels should be sporadic, there’s no need to offer incentives at 25 or 50 stays.

Instead, Fans of M.O. simply serves to return some of the same competing perks that other programs offer. And along the way, the hotel can capture and measure valuable preference and travel data among its most valuable customers.

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Tags: loyalty, mandarin oriental

Photo credit: The Mandarin Oriental has a new loyalty program that emphasizes on-site perks and upgrades over free stays. Mandarin Oriental

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