Loews hotels is shutting down their loyalty program December 6. The Loews chain is comprised of 24 hotels in the U.S. and Canada.
They say that “YouFirst isn’t enticing or relevant” and that set benefits don’t meet guest needs and they’ll continue to recognize their best guests without a formal program.
Here’s the benefit table that goes away December 7:
Somewhat oddly they were status matching as recently as last month, though perhaps that’s not so strange since air berlin topbonus was status matching even after air berlin itself had shut down.
This is hardly the first hotel chain to shut down its loyalty program. Holiday Inn launched the first hotel loyalty program at the start of 1983 and called it Priority Club. They shut down the program in 1986 because they were simply losing too much money on it. 75 stays was enough for two tickets to Europe, a week in Paris, and a free week’s car rental. Priority Club was eventually relaunched, but that’s why Marriott – which launched Honored Guest later in 1983 – is able to lay claim to being the oldest continuously operated hotel loyalty program.
Ultimately loyalty programs aren’t just rebates. And they aren’t just a structured way to provide better experiences to top customers, solving the challenge of how to ensure a given front desk clerk at an individual property recognizes guests the way the company values that guest.
They’re a targeted, data rich permission-based marketing play, and they’re a way to keep customers coming back with defined goals to hit.
It’s tough to be a 24 hotel chain when Marriott has 6000 properties. It’s tough for Hyatt with over 600 hotels. They may find they’re better off participating in a coalition loyalty program, and ideally selling out to (or, if they want to retain the real estate play reflagging as) a larger brand.