Loyalty programs centered on racking up points over time are not cutting it in today’s world of instant gratification, according to a survey conducted by Extended Stay America. In response, the brand has launched a new loyalty program called Extended Perks that rewards members with instant savings.
“People are getting tired of the unreachable carrot that point programs have been laying in front of them,” explains Tom Seddon, chief marketing officer of Extended Stay America.
This is especially true for the up-and-coming generation of hotel guests, he adds. Given that millennials represent the fastest-growing travel segment, Seddon says it was imperative for Extended Stay America to drum up an idea that would resonate with the younger set.
“The one word you hear from the millennial generation is ‘now.’ It’s like, ‘I want it now, so whatever you’re doing for me, do it for me now; I don’t want to wait,’” he says. “That’s the first interesting thing to think about in context of the traditional point program approach, which is really all about making you wait.”
In surveying 500 people, Extended Stay America also discovered that guests found traditional point systems difficult to use, because once points are finally built up, it can be hard to apply the points toward a worthy reward. Additionally, guests sometimes find that the points have been undervalued, and they must accumulate even more points to receive a reward.
What respondents said they really value, according to Seddon, are instant rewards and discounts. So, the brand came up with the motto “instant reward, no points required” in crafting its Extended Perks loyalty program.
Extended Perks provides members with 15 percent off their next stay, preferred hotel status, and expedited check-ins with guaranteed room preferences. Participants can save up to $2,500 on everyday purchases or receive weekly deals from retail brands, car rental services, restaurants, and the like. Extended Perks can be accessed online or via a mobile app. The program is offered at Extended Stay America properties nationwide.
“From a philosophy point of view, we said, this is going to be all about us showing our loyalty to guests, not them showing their loyalty to us,” Seddon said.