Skift Take

New tools geared for driving engagement at Hilton have created strong growth in its loyalty program. But does Marriott also get part of the credit?

Series: Business of Loyalty

Travel Loyalty News

The Skift Business of Loyalty covers the world of hotel, airline, and other consumer loyalty programs in the travel industry. Read more coverage of loyalty here.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts is seeing an uptick in loyalty in its Honors program thanks to what it describes as better engagement with members. In its second-quarter earnings call last Wednesday, Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta shared that engagement with its loyalty members was double what it was six years ago — up to 50 percent from 20–30 percent before. The Honors program surpassed 94 million members this quarter.

What’s behind the uptick? Nassetta said that improvements to Honors at lower tiers of elite status have helped drive interest in the program. Hilton early in 2017 retooled Honors to add better spending tools for travelers without massive point balances. Nassetta suggested that options that allow members to pay for travel partially with points or use points for Amazon purchases, for example, have driven engagement to new heights.

That may be a big part of Hilton’s success, but it’s also hard to ignore what’s going on in other sectors of the hotel industry. Marriott over the last two years has been working diligently to merge its loyalty program with Starwood Preferred Guest, and the fallout from that campaign has created more than a few disenfranchised travelers. It’s not impossible that a segment of Marriott’s old stalwarts have left the company for greener pastures.

Either way, these are high times for the Honors program.

— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor

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Grant Martin [[email protected]] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. He is also a director of product marketing at TripActions. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.

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Tags: hilton, hilton honors, loyalty

Photo credit: Hilton Hotels and Resorts reported that its Honors loyalty program has grown thanks to better engagement with members. Hilton / Hilton

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