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In potentially good points news for those who like the finer things in life, Four Seasons has announced that it will launch a new loyalty program. With 91 properties around the world and plans for 60 more, they plan to launch the new program in the third quarter of 2013.
According to Regional vice president and GM Four Seasons Hotels Thailand Rami Sayess, who was speaking at the group’s annual Four Seasons University media event, “We’re one of the companies that has resisted having a programme for many, many years. But today, we realise that like everything else, this is changing in the world and we are going to have to roll out [a loyalty programme].
“This is something which we don’t have as yet but I think once we have it quarter three of this year it will make a big difference and it will show our guests how much we value their patriotism and support.” (Quote taken from Hotelier Middle East.)
While several luxury chains, including Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental, have also resisted putting loyalty programs into place, Four Seasons was by far the largest not to do so, especially when major competitors like Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La and Fairmont/Raffles among others had done so.
As I’ve pointed out in reviews of some of my Four Seasons stays, however, the point of points and loyalty programs is to find ways to pull added value and benefits from your stays and loyalty, and Four Seasons often allows guests to do so by participating in programs like Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts or Visa Signature Hotels so that travelers booking through these engines get extra perks including upgrades, internet and parking, and property credits for food and beverage or spa thrown in.
However, I do think it will be valuable to have a quantifiable loyalty program in place so that customers know what they’re getting and can find a return on their spending in the form of free nights. At this time, the facts are still scarce about the program, so I’m not sure if it will be points-based like Ritz-Carlton’s, or more like the stay-based systems of Kimpton or Leading Hotels of the World and what kind of elite status component will be included. However, I do hope that there will be a co-branded credit card that will confer extra perks such as automatic elite status or late check-out and the ability to rack up points toward free stays.