Lucky of One Mile at a Time wrote something in his blog post yesterday that touched on a topic that I have been thinking about this week as I plan travel for Norway next month. There are so many Choices to choose from in Norway and Sweden.
While not directly based on advertising, branding has caused me to make equally arbitrary decisions. My mom and I went to New Zealand and Australia after I graduated high school. Everyone I spoke with beforehand said “oh, you have to go to Christchurch and Wellington,” yet oddly no one recommended Queenstown.
But we still went there. Why? For the sole reason that there was a Crowne Plaza (one of four IHG hotels in New Zealand at the time) and I was loyal to IHG. Has anyone ever gone out of their way to stay at a Crowne Plaza? Like, ever?
Yet I’m so happy I did, because Queenstown was one of my favorite places in the world.
One Mile at a Time – The Power of Advertising in the Travel Industry
Queenstown, New Zealand is definitely a place I want to go. But I did not want to go there in winter snow, so I traveled to Paihia in the far north of New Zealand for an August vacation in 2005. Kelley and I absolutely adored the place.
Where are my Choices taking me in Scandinavia?
Choice Hotels has an offshoot affiliate called Nordic Choice Hotels with 178 properties in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania.
- Norway 82
- Sweden 78
- Denmark 3
- Latvia 1
- Lithuania 1
As a Choice Privileges member in the USA, I can use my points to book Nordic Choice Hotels on reward nights, however, paid stays only earn points as a member in the Nordic Choice Club program which operates as a separate entity to Choice Privileges. The cost of hotels in Norway means I will be staying on points for all my nights.
Forget the stereotypes of Quality Inn AnyTown, USA. This is Nordic Choice.
Forget the imagery of the local Quality Inn & Suites like the two motels in my Monterey, California neighborhood. There are truly some gems I have found among the 178 hotels in Nordic Choice.
Now I have to book some of my Choices.
I fly to Oslo next month for 13 nights in September and all the interesting Choices have overwhelmed me as I delve deeply into travel planning. A couple weeks ago I was wondering if I even wanted to stay in Norway after my arrival in Oslo. Now I feel that 13 days are limiting my options to just three or four locations in Norway and possibly Sweden.
A Villa on the Fjord at Quality Resort & Spa Holmsbu, Norway for 16,000 points
Holmsbu is about 90 minutes by car or 2.5 hours by train and bus from Oslo, Norway.
75% rating on TripAdvisor is good, not terrific. Most traveler complaints are about the service level of the resort. I am self-sufficient and the room design is more important to me than service levels. I want a place to hole up at night and and a hotel base from which to hike around the countryside and seashore during the day. Another attractive aspect of this hotel is I expect there is unlikely to be another American around. I can be immersed in Norwegian vacation culture.
My choice is a villa cabin by the sea please!
Most major hotel loyalty programs on reward night stays place you in the lowest category room and you pray for an elite upgrade. Several of the Nordic Choice hotels I have studied offer a variety of room categories for reward nights.
Quality Spa & Resort Holmsbu shows an option for a standard room or a cabin with up to 4 bedrooms. They are all 16,000 Choice Privileges points per night.
- 2 Single Beds
- 2 Single Beds Suite
- 6 Single Beds, Efficiency 3 bedroom suite
- 6 single beds, Efficiency 4 bedroom suite
This 3 bedroom suite cabin has an ocean view, living room and two bathrooms. This choice is 16,000 points per night.
4,020 NOK = $640 USD per night for a room rate with the same flexible cancellation policy of reward nights. Web Price Basic rate at 3,255 NOK ($518 USD) is prepaid and nonrefundable.
Choice Privileges have real value for Nordic Choice Hotels.
And breakfast is free.
Has anyone ever gone out of their way to stay at a Quality Inn?
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.