As mentioned here in an article in London newspaper The Independent (which I was quoted in), a new independent hotel chain is launching in North America. VoilÃ is currently a 250+ independent/boutique hotel loyalty program with properties in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. The program, which is similar to Stash Hotel Rewards, offers a unique alternative to your mass hotel chain loyalty programs. In my eyes, the key difference between Voila and Stash (and which I reviewed here), and that Voila has a robust elite program. Stash, however, has an impressive portfolio of unique North American hotels- Voila currently has 1 in Mexico.
VoilÃ ’s elite program is pretty generous- offering real benefits at low thresholds.
At only 10 nights, you get:
- Early (11am) Check-in
- Late (4pm) Check-out
- 25% points bonus
- Room upgrades
At 20 nights, you get the benefits above, plus:
- Lounge access
- No blackout dates (which most hotel programs have eliminated for everyone)
- 50% points bonus
In general, you earn 10 points per dollar spent and each point is equal to about .75 to 1 cent each. In essence its a 7.5-10% rebate. If you are top tier elite, that rebate can be 15%, which isn’t amazing, but is certainly better than earning nothing.
I’m very interested to see what types of properties VoilÃ starts to add to its North American collection. If they can add solid, high end properties, then I think Stash needs to speed up its program development and roll out some robust elite benefits. While savvy travelers certainly want points, they also value recognition of their loyalty and the special treatment that goes along with it.
In my eyes, more competition equals more options for travelers to earn valuable rewards. With the early success of Stash and VoilÃ I’m optimistic that all hotels (yes I’m even speaking to you Mandarin and Four Seasons) will some day offer loyalty programs.
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