One Hotel Truly Recognizes Loyalty — Even When You’re Not Paying Them a Cent

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!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. While the Hotel chains allowing non staying guests to use the facilities is a great idea, one of the really annoying trends has been ( and SPG are guilty ) the lowering of status for certain levels. For example, SPG Gold before Platinum was introduced, allowed lounge access, room upgrades and some more perks. Now, if you “Only” have Gold you are looked down on at check in and in most SPG hotels, you are denied lounge access

    Loyalty is a two way road and hotels / airlines / car rental companies really need to wake up and realise this

  2. Well, wait take advantage before Marriott takes over. The days of frugality will start from all of us SPG loyalists.

  3. This will die soon now that the big blogs have publicized it (gives Marriott a good excuse to kill it). I’m mot complaining, just sayin’….

  4. @Gene, How many SPG Platinums traveling in coach pass through the Frankfurt airport on a daily basis to take advantage of this?
    And a benefit kept secret is the best benefit?
    How is the prediction of demise of this benefit because of bloggers giving it publicity not a complaint and falls into the ‘just sayin’ category?
    Some of us just can’t stand the thought of others knowing about a benefit/promotion!

  5. How about treating every customer as if they are important because every customer is important? I understand some are more important than others but (almost) every single customer matters.

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