Perhaps the biggest challenge facing convention planners today is the need to keep more attendees within the official hotel room block. Talk to meeting planners, and you’ll learn they regularly lose sleep over this.

One issue that may be causing attendees to choose their own hotel rather than the convention’s offer is the pull of established hotel loyalty programs. Independent research and creative consultancy, Savanta Group Limited conducted a survey for Oracle Hospitality and found that an astounding 82% of business travelers are likely to book where they earn rewards.

Hotel Reward Prorgam
Many attendees are trained to look for maximum loyalty rewards when booking

(Leisure travelers are far less likely to be influenced by loyalty programs.)

Hotels could solve the problem by simply allowing loyalty programs to become interchangeable. When I mentioned this idea to the national sales director of a major hotel brand, he dismissed it out of hand calling it “impossible.”

Luckily, the vast majority of travelers in the survey stated that a loyalty program based on experiences rather than rewards would be appealing.

In order to bridge the gap between those trained in the world of loyalty programs and what’s in the best interest of your convention group as a whole, some services are helping planners design their own rewards.

For example, a new system offered by Aventri. a leading Event management software company, is offering planners the option to provide Uber vouchers to their attendees.

ResponseRewards.com – a sister property to MeetingSource.com – is another platform that can be used to earn, track and redeem points like traditional loyalty programs. ResponseRewards can be designed to offer experiences developed with a city’s attractions as well.

What ideas do you have to solve this complex and confounding problem??

 

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