Carlson Hotels Worldwide this month launches an umbrella loyalty program for its four hotel brands, including Radisson Hotels & Resorts.
|Carlson’s Goldpoints Plus
starts with millions of members
The new program, Goldpoints Plus, replaces current loyalty programs for the individual hotels’ chains, including Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Country Inns & Suites and Park Inn.
Members of Carlson’s current programs are automatically rolled over into Goldpoints Plus, so the new program starts with millions of members, said Program Director Tony Hart.
Guests earn points when they stay at any of Carlson’s 800 hotels, and when they shop with the 100-plus retailers in the Gold Points Reward Network. Sister company Carlson Marketing Group, a relationship-marketing agency, runs the Gold Points Reward Network.
Carlson began the loyalty-club revamp a year ago when consumer research showed that “people liked the Radisson Rewards program but didn’t know how it fit with the other brands,” Hart said. “People compartmentalized the programs. We wanted to make it easier to understand and broaden members’ earning potential across all the hotel brands.”
A single program is more efficient for Minneapolis-based Carlson, too, and creates a fuller profile of each guest: “One complete system allows us to get more insight into guests and what they like,” Hart said. “The key is understanding what that guest is looking for.”
Goldpoints Plus has three tiers: base, silver elite (giving 50% bonus points on hotel stays) and gold elite (75% bonus points). Members get 10 points per dollar spent on hotel stays, and 1,000 points for booking online. Elite members can convert points to credit card reward programs. All members are auto-entered on each stay in a quarterly sweeps awarding vacation prizes.
TV, print and direct mail to current members support the launch. Carlson kicked off the campaign with a Jan. 10 event in New York City that gave away a grand-prize 1 million points, and hotel stays in Aruba, Hawaii, Norway and Estonia. Carlson handles marketing in-house; Bolin Advertising, Minneapolis, handles TV.
“Every point of communication will be leveraged over the next several months to get the word out about the program,” said Yvonne La Penotiere, exec VP-brand marketing.
The campaign is the first branding work for Carlson Hotels Worldwide, following extensive research and marketing to position each of Carlson’s hotel chains in its own price segment. Consumer and business-to-business research helped set the foundation for Goldpoints Plus.
Hart returned to Minneapolis-based Carlson in early 2004 to oversee loyalty marketing; he had been VP-customer relationship marketing for Best Buy, managing the Reward Zone loyalty program. Hart worked in Carlson’s consumer loyalty group in the late 1980s.