Voilà helps independents compete with big brands

High quality loyalty programme will unite thousands of independent hotels

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By  Sarah Gain Published  November 2, 2006

Independent hotels will now be able to go head to head with international chains in the guest loyalty stakes, thanks to the launch of a new rewards programme at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM). Voilà Hotel Rewards, www.vhr.com, is a frequency guest loyalty program, created by Hospitality Marketing Concepts (HMC), specifically for independent hotels and resorts. Voilà is designed to eliminate the challenges independent hotel groups face, while enabling them to provide their guests with the advantages of mega-brand loyalty programmes and is being unveiled to the world’s tourism industry at this month’s WTM, being held at ExCeL in London from November 6-9. “So many hotels today face the challenges of low awareness, limited resources and marketing funds, in addition to loss of business to bigger chains, often due to the lack of a competitive loyalty programme,” said Mokhtar Ramadan, CEO, Voilà Hotel Rewards. “We have launched Voilà Hotel Rewards to address these challenges and equip smaller hotel chains and independents with the tools and technology to make them serious contenders in today’s increasingly competitive hospitality industry and, ultimately, increase occupancy and revenue.” By joining an international rewards programme featuring hundreds of other reputable four- and five-star Voilà partners, hotels will gain instant credibility and exposure to a new, devoted clientele, Ramadan claims. Other advantages include increased revenue from existing guests, reduction in third party commissions and the opportunity to cut advertising and marketing spend. Within the first year of launching, Voilà Hotel Rewards is projected to have at least 1000 partner hotels in 60 different countries and more than five million members. These figures will ensure that, for the first time, independents, soft brands and small groups can compete within the loyalty market currently dominated by the global brands. Voilà provides partner hotels with all the systems, technology and support services required to successfully operate the program via the Voila CRM Partner Portal. The simple, automated capabilities that drive Voilà, such as points administration, data storage, PMS and CRS synchronisation, drastically reduce the labour costs usually associated with an in-house or regional loyalty programme. Voilà will launch with three membership tiers: Gold, Platinum and Black. Consumers can automatically sign up for Gold membership, however a minimum of two nights is required for card fulfilment. Ten annual room nights qualify for Platinum membership and 20 annual room nights upgrades to Black membership. Ten points are awarded per dollar spent at member hotels. Platinum- and Black-tier members can earn 25% and 50% bonuses respectively. Over and above room revenue, members will be encouraged to spend more in other revenue centres, such as restaurants and spas, since qualified hotel revenue is converted to points. This increases total spend, as members earn points on facilities such as mini bar, telephone, F&B, meetings & events and spa facilities, and reduces the likelihood of guest revenue being diverted to competitive hotel or dining establishments.

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