Membership deals attracting Middle East

Independent survey suggests loyalty scheme programs in the region are working well.

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By  John Irish Published  March 25, 2003

Despite the conflict in Iraq, Hospitality Marketing Concepts (HMC), a provider of travel industry membership programs released figures today (March 25) highlighting that loyalty members in the Middle East were spending more per visit than 2001.

The survey, which tracked trends in privilege card members’ spending for the first two months of 2003, was based on HMC’s loyalty marketing index for the region. It looked at 34 luxury hotels located throughout Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and United Arab Emirates.

“We were not surprised by the results. We build a hotel’s membership program largely with people who live or work near the property, people who will not be dependent on air travel to get to the hotel. We offer these customers, mostly local business persons, discounts and other benefits to use hotel’s facilities,” said Mokhtar Ramadan, HMC chief executive.

According to HMC, members averaged the same number of covers at hotel dining facilities during January and February 2003 as the same period last year. However, spending increased by 7% per cover.

“The data shows that the membership base we build for a hotel provides consistent revenue even if there is an overall decrease in business travel spending,” said Robert Fadel, HMC’s vice-president and area director for the Middle East and West Asia.

“Our programs help hotels protect themselves against the affects of geo-political issues or even an overall economic downturn,” added Fadel.

HMC, which is based in the US, includes large hotel groups such as Le Meridien, Ritz-Carlton and Marriott in its client list.

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