Guests no longer have to opt for “points” over “personality” due to growing trend of boutique hotels and independent hotels offering hotel loyalty programs.

Tired of forfeiting guests to big brand loyalty programs, a growing number of independent and boutique hotels are going head-to-head with major chains by offering their own guest loyalty programs. The key difference is that they are leveraging their smaller size in order to offer more flexibility, personalized amenities, and experiences to reward and incentivize repeat customers. The examples below represent hotel loyalty programs that are both pushing the trend and paving the way for other independent and boutique hotels across the industry:

Through its GHA Discovery Program, Global Hotel Alliance rewards guests with localized, high-end customer experiences rather than points. Guests at its participating 26 luxury hotel brands can earn perks such as behind-the-scenes access to special local events, meet and greets with local celebrities and VIPs, and exclusive one-on-one sessions with a hotel sommelier or chef.

Stash Hotel Rewards works with independent hotels to provide tailored “soft benefits” to enrolled hotel guests, including complimentary shuttle rides, free welcome bags, and pre-reserved passes to local fitness centers. Their programs are designed to help independents compete with neighboring big brands but participating hotels have the flexibility to set their own parameters and point levels required for a free night’s stay.

Similarly, flexibility is a key benefit of the Voila Hotel Rewards program, which unites roughly 100 independent global hotel brands under one program to pool perks and rewards. Members can accrue points by staying at any of the hotel brands affiliated with its program in order to redeem “award nights” or tailored experiences at participating properties.

Hotels participating in Preferred Hotel Group’s iPrefer program reward guests with points that can be exchanged for certificates redeemable like cash at their properties for items such as food, beverage, and even spa treatments. The 450 independent hotels participating in iPrefer appreciate the ability to maintain their independence while still offering guests the chance to utilize “points for perks.”

Boutique and independent hoteliers can learn two important lessons from the examples cited above. The first is that size alone should not preclude a property from venturing into the loyalty program arena. The second is that there no longer has to be a trade-off for guests when it comes to booking with an independent hotel – they myriad of options today makes it possible for guests to get the best of both worlds, gaining points and perks along with the personal experience they crave from independents and boutiques. Be sure to check out what our cloud, hotel property management system has to offer to help you.