Hotel loyalty programme members want rewards for being sustainable

by: Felicity Cousins | May 16, 2024

US: iSeatz, a provider of travel loyalty technology, has seen a notable rise in sustainability-based loyalty programme rewards in the hospitality sector.

The tech firm, which has clients including American Express, IHG Hotels & Resorts, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, released the findings in its 5th annual State of Loyalty: Hospitality Rewards Report. 

The report offers an overview of hotel rewards programmes and what approaches the schemes take for members to redeem points.

According to the report this year guests will have more options on how they can spend their redeemed points and there was a notable uptick in sustainability-related rewards.

This year 27 per cent of the hotels and hospitality groups in the analysis offered loyalty-integrated sustainability initiatives, compared to just 14 per cent in 2023. 

According to iSeatz 14 per cent of all consumers (and 20 per cent of Millennials) would engage more frequently with their loyalty programmes if they offered more sustainability-related options, and 60 per cent of businesses reported reduced ‘member churn’ and turnover after increasing the availability of those options.

The majority of the sustainability redemption options focused on allowing members to donate points to sustainability-related organisations or causes as Accor’s Captain Cause initiative shows. Radisson, Marriott, GHA Discovery, and Melia Hotels offer similar donation-based sustainability redemption.

The report says IHG offers loyalty members the ability to earn points for sustainability with its “Greener Stay” initiative in Fiji incentivising guests to earn points by declining housekeeping, thereby saving energy.

Broader commitments to sustainability and other environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards are much more common. “Every major hotel brand in our analysis features a formal or systemic commitment to these goals, including Marriott’s Serve360 program, IHG’s Green Engage system (of which Greener Stay is a part), and Hyatt’s World of Care initiative,” says the iSeatz report.

The survey also asked the question: Which of the following sustainability features would make you more likely to book, or make a purchase through your loyalty programme? The top three most popular answers were 40 per cent, “bonuses or incentives for booking sustainable options”, followed by 28 per cent who said hotels that have implemented sustainability features and 24 per cent who said the ability to book destination activities that contribute to the local community.

Andy Hermo, COO of iSeatz said: “Hospitality loyalty programmes are the ideal vehicle for delivering value to guests and members and signalling that hotel brands are in sync with their priorities.

“The continued growth among sustainability-related rewards reflects travellers’ increasing awareness of the ecological impact of their travel choices.”

Other significant findings from the 2024 analysis include:

  • 68 per cent of hotels and hospitality groups provide earning opportunities for dining, up from 55 per cent in 2023;
  • 45 per cent now allow members to redeem points for live events, up from 32 per cent in 2023;
  • 67 per cent of hotel brands allow members to earn and redeem points for wellness activities, up from 47 per cent last year.

You can download the full report for free here

In September 2022 we reported how the airline Qantas was incentivising its Australian passengers to make more sustainable hotel choices.

Qantas encourages Australian flyers to stay green

Image Photo by JoelValve on Unsplash