Loyalty Traveler Review of Hotel News
Here are some of the interesting articles and reports I read this past week.
#1: Hotel Internet Security – Guess who is looking at your files!
The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University has published a study of internet security practices for hotel guests accessing internet connections in the USA.
The CHR report findings are not comforting for hotel guests.
“We concluded that hotels in the U.S. are generally ill-prepared to protect their guests from network security issues.”
The report, “Hotel Network Security: A Study of the Computer Networks in U.S. Hotels” by Josh Ogle, Erica Wagner, Ph.D., and Mark Talbert is available for free download from the Center for Hospitality Research (registration required). http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/reports/2008.html
#2: Hotel Loyalty Programs Category Shift story from December 2006
This is an older story from December 2006, “Hotel Loyalty Programs Undergo Point Value Changes” on creditcards.com, however, the background overview of the shift in hotel category and points required for free night hotel room redemption with Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest is a good reminder that hotel programs made dramatic adjustments upward when hotel travel was booming these past two years. There continued to be substantial shifts upward in 2007 and 2008.
I am interested to see how US hotels shift in redemption category for 2009 as the average daily rates for hotels in USA are currently at a substantially lower price level than any other region around the globe. A downward adjustment is in order based on the numbers for average daily room rates at US hotels.
Will hotels in the USA see a major shift downward in category redemption levels?
See my post last week to read more about category shift and global hotel rates, “Hotel Travel Going Down, Down, Down. It’s the Economy, Stupid!”
#3: American Express leads in “credit card satisfaction” J.D. Power survey
This article about the 2008 JD Power survey on credit card satisfaction supports my post on hotel loyalty program affinity credit cards and the value of American Express over VISA and MasterCard. My independent analysis last month, “Comparison of Hotel Loyalty Program Affinity Credit Cards,” showed the earning power of Hilton HHonors AmEx and Starwood Preferred Guest AmEx made these two cards the best value for hotel loyalty program affinity credit cards.
#4: Airline and Hotel Social Networks – I know someone that knows someone who knows you.
Ron Callari discusses a European study that suggests the internet has shrunk our global affiliations from six degrees of separation down to three. The travel industry is trying to take some control over the proliferation of social networking through its own internal hotel and airline social forums. Somehow, I think FlyerTalk is still going to dominate for years to come.
#5: Hyatt Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale, Arizona offering 5,000 points for 3-night stay
Last April I spent time at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch and I absolutely loved their swimming pools. The hotel is open air, green grass, colorful flowers, cacti, and swimming pools against a lake backdrop. The remodeled rooms looked very similar to the San Francisco Hyatt Regency remodeled rooms and bathroom design. Glass door showers instead of tubs. This is the Hyatt property to stay at in the Phoenix area.
Hyatt Promotion offer code is Scot5K for the 5,000 point bonus on a 3-night or longer stay through December 31, 2008. Link to offer here.
#6: Hawaii Hotel Occupancy Still Dropping; Rates Slow to Drop
Hawaii continues to see a decline in hotel travel due to airline flight cuts and high airfares. Supposedly there are great deals to be had if you look.
#7: Frequent travelers book directly with suppliers while infrequent travelers tend to use online travel agencies (OTA) like Expedia.com
Glenn Hausmann, editor-in-chief of Hotel Interactive has a good read on the battle between hotel companies and online travel agencies for consumers in the online world.