Why doesn’t Barbados tap into a major Customer Loyalty Rewards system?
After reading Adrian Loveridge’s new article (below) we went over to TripAdvisor to see if there were any reviews of the new Courtyard and we found only one so far. What it says underlines Adrian’s observations on the benefits of partnering with a major Customer Loyalty Rewards system. The reviewer says:
“As one of only three chains on the hotel, (Marriott Courtyard) is by far the most reasonably priced (the Hilton was almost double the price!), and lets you earn loyalty points. That was really the only reason I stayed here, otherwise I would stay at a Beach Resort for the same price.”
Adrian has been trying to get the Barbados Tourism Authority to partner with a major rewards programme for years, but to no avail. A damned shame that the BTA continues to spend millions and millions on the same old same old. Too bad they can’t give Adrian Loveridge 5% of that annual budget and let him run with his ideas, while measuring the results.
(“Measure the results?” the BTA gasps. “Just wouldn’t do here in Bim!”)
Here’s Adrian’s new article. You can also read it at BusinessBarbados.com
Courtyard exposes Barbados to 34 million Marriott Rewards members – hardcore travelers all!
The opening of the new Courtyard by Marriott can only be heralded as a positive development for Barbados.
Marriott was founded by J. Willard Marriott in 1927 when he and his wife opened a root beer stand in Washington D.C. It has become a lodging empire of more than 3,400 properties spread across 68 countries and territories with an annual revenue of US$10.9 billion in 2009.
Their son and current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, J. W. (Bill) Marriott, Junior, has led the company to spectacular worldwide growth and now includes luxury brands like Ritz Carlton and the emerging Bulgari Hotels and Resorts.
But their strength is not limited to the so called ‘high end’.
They have also identified important niche segments of the hospitality industry which include the Fairfield Inn, Spring Hill Suites Residence Inn and Marriott Executive Apartment chains.
In November 2010, they announced plans to add over 600 hotel properties by 2015 and that decision was made during a global recession. By having a broad economic range of accommodation options they can maintain brand loyalty at every level and allow their guests to ‘grow’ upwards as individually they become more successful.
The multiple award winning Marriott Rewards programme allows its more than 34 million members worldwide to earn points or miles at the majority of its hotels. These can then either be redeemed for vacation travel or help reduce the cost of doing business.
Of course, it now goes way beyond earning hotel stays. Rewards points can be redeemed at over 250 reward options including hot air balloon rides over vineyards of the Napa Valley, a journey on the legendary Orient-Express train or even golf lessons at the Nick Faldo Golf Institute.
It’s all about ensuring that you maintain the interest and continued loyalty of the member, so that he or she stays faithful to the family of brands.
As a member, hardly a week goes by without receiving details of the latest special offer, a new property opening or innovative new products like DreamRewards which help accelerate the redemption of points into vacations.
Sadly our own national tourism planners have not appeared to fully embrace this incredible opportunity, seemingly preferring to adopt a trawling marketing approach, where the odds of reaching the target traveller are dramatically reduced.
As a destination we could partner with groupings like Marriott and ensure we target every single one of their customers who comprise mostly of frequent travellers.
So how does the opening of one 118 room hotel under the Marriott name benefit Barbados?
Marriott never stop marketing, not just in our traditional main tourism markets but across the globe. Those guests staying in any other Courtyard know if they book the Barbados property exactly what to expect, with the brand assurance that will ensure there are no surprises.
Little touches like free WiFi and complimentary use of computer terminals and printers can make all the difference to choosing a particular hotel.
I also understand that several members of staff were employed directly from the Pommarine Hospitality Institute and this can only augur well in taking our overall service standards to a higher level.
I often conclude that we expect our staff to perform to a level of service excellence that many have never been exposed to but our guests take for granted in their own countries.
Photo of Courtyard Barbados courtesy of Marriott Hotels