I often write that in loyalty, I am not my rate or my fare. I am either a valuable customer or I am not, and the way I’m treated should be the same on every single trip — whether I’m on an expensive walkup ticket for work during the week or a cheap discount trip with family over the weekend.
- Business travelers are leisure travelers.
- Set up a system to decide which customers to value, and treat them as people whom you value — every time.
Hotel programs were really the first to move away from this, a dozen years ago when they began to treat online travel agency bookings different than those made through their website.
Some hotel programs still honored elite benefits (even if they didn’t offer elite credit accrual) on these reservations like Hyatt and Marriott. But others – seeking to drive their best customers to their own booking channels – refused to acknowledge status as a matter of policy (Starwood) or even to award points on incidental spend (Hilton).
Airlines are moving in the direction of segmenting customer treatment by the trip, not the person with the introduction of Basic Economy fares — no matter how much you spend with an airline during the year, and no matter how many times you fly, you may not even get a seat assignment in advance the one time you buy the cheapest fare the airline has to offer.
One of my all-time favorite hotel loyalty program features was Radisson’s ‘Our World, Your Lounge’ where elites in Europe, Middle East and Africa drop into any participating hotel and use free internet and have a complimentary coffee, even when not staying as a guest.
That feature was eliminated with the introduction of the Club Carlson program in 2011 around the same time British Airways eliminated their ‘Open Doors’ lounge policy accepting BA Gold elites flying other airlines.
So it’s great to learn that at least one hotel believes in this, and goes beyond the old Radisson program: Sheraton Frankfurt Airport allows SPG Platinum members to access their club lounge, shower, and sauna when not staying as a registered guest at the property.
The rather large club lounge offers champagne, myriad food choices, and a view of the airport.
Kudos to the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport truly going above and beyond in welcoming valued guests!