Internet … loyalty. Two words rarely seen together. To date, buying travel online has been all about price. Consumers switch between sites to get the best deal. But, slowly, the landscape is shifting as web retailers learn the value of repeat business. With this in mind, Hotels.com today launched its Welcome Rewards loyalty program in Australia.
Hotels.com, part of Expedia Inc., is claiming an Australian first with this product, which has been operating in the US for the past 18 months and offers one free night for every ten booked at participating properties. But many will dispute this, pointing to HotelClub’s well-established loyalty scheme. Whatever, it’s still a point of difference in a highly commoditised market, and that will increasingly matter.