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10 Best Independent Loyalty Programs Vendors for Hotels

The InnCentives Loyalty Program rewards travelers for staying at local, unique and authentic dest...
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This vendor is the most popular in the category with 1 reviews across 1 countries.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

InnCentives, patent pending loyalty program, belongs to the largest loyalty marketplace helping guests to earn free nights as well as maximize... read more

  • Based in
    Phoenix (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 29 employees on Linkedin
Easily build a network of brands to amplify your loyalty program´s value
Regional
This vendor has active customers in fewer than 3 countries, check the map on their profile to make sure they service your region.
0
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Loyalty programs once worked miracles for customer engagement. But with a dizzying range of disjointed loyalty schemes from countless brands, the... read more

  • Based in
    Barcelona (Spain)
  • Founded in
  • 9 employees on Linkedin
Hotel Loyalty, Tourism, Hotels, Reservations, Loyalty Coalition
Regional
This vendor has active customers in fewer than 3 countries, check the map on their profile to make sure they service your region.
0
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Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Startup designed to become the largest hotel loyalty program in the world. Launched in December 2015 offers over 100 thousand hotels where you... read more

  • Based in
    Brazil
  • Founded in
  • 6 employees on Linkedin
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Retail, Airlines, Hospitality and T&E, Healthcare SMB, and Private Sector
Regional
This vendor has active customers in fewer than 3 countries, check the map on their profile to make sure they service your region.
0
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Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

From payment processing to loyalty programs, fraud management to mobile innovations, security solutions to data-driven insights, together we can... read more

  • Based in
    Atlanta, GA
  • Founded in
  • 3 employees on Linkedin
Customer Loyalty, Loyalty Software Solutions, Customer Engagement, System Interface & Integration...
Regional
This vendor has active customers in fewer than 3 countries, check the map on their profile to make sure they service your region.
0
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

We are a full-service loyalty strategy company with deep operational and strategic expertise in managing enterprise-level loyalty programs. We... read more

  • Based in
    Las Vegas (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 46 employees on Linkedin
Sales, Marketing, and Distribution
Regional
This vendor has active customers in fewer than 3 countries, check the map on their profile to make sure they service your region.
0
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Preferred Hotels & Resorts is the worlds largest independent hotel brand, representing more than 650 distinctive hotels, resorts, residences, and... read more

  • Based in
    Chicago (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 362 employees on Linkedin
Welcome to the official loyalty program of the best independent hotels!
Regional
This vendor has active customers in fewer than 3 countries, check the map on their profile to make sure they service your region.
0
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Stash Hotel Rewards allows members to earn and redeem points for free nights at unique, independently-run hotels across the U.S. Stash makes it... read more

  • Based in
    Palo Alto, California
  • Founded in
  • 30 employees on Linkedin
Marketing Tech,Loyalty & Rewards
Regional
This vendor has active customers in fewer than 3 countries, check the map on their profile to make sure they service your region.
0
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

The Guestbook is a guest financial rewards network for independent & boutique brand hotels offering guests a choice of 5% Cash Back, a 5... read more

  • Based in
    West Hollywood (United States)
  • Founded in
  • 16 employees on Linkedin
Loyalty Programs, Frequency Guest Programs, Marketing, Database Management, CRM, and Database Seg...
Regional
This vendor has active customers in fewer than 3 countries, check the map on their profile to make sure they service your region.
0
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

HMC is the world’s leading provider of outsourced database management and loyalty marketing programmes for premium hotel organizations. Our... read more

  • Based in
    Newport Beach, CA
  • Founded in
  • 348 employees on Linkedin
A new type of loyalty club for a new generation of traveler
Regional
This vendor has active customers in fewer than 3 countries, check the map on their profile to make sure they service your region.
0
HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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COMPANY DESCRIPTION

Welcome to Wanup, a new type of loyalty club for a new generation of travellers. With a hand-picked selection of hotels across Europe, from urban... read more

  • Based in
    Wanup (Canada)
  • Founded in
  • 94 employees on Linkedin

Recent Loyalty Programs for Independents articles

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Do independent hotel loyalty programs actually work?

The hotel industry has moved into the era of soft brands unofficially started by Hilton through the DoubleTree brand.  The initial idea was to find a way for the Hilton development team to help owners of subpar hotels (ones that didn't meet brand standards) plug into Hilton's distribution network and (and consequently for Hilton to earn franchise fees from a larger pool of the market).  This evolution progressed as Marriott launched the Autograph Collection and eventually turned into an arms race with Starwood's Luxury Collection and acquisition of European based Design Hotels.  The trend has allowed hotel brands to grow faster in a world where they are asset light (no longer own property). Soft brands make a ton of sense for development teams at major brands because when owners either don't want to conform to brand standards or want to remain localized and unique,  major brands now have an attractive offering that their development teams can pitch.  For owners, the value of joining a 'soft brand' ultimately comes from plugging into a global sales, marketing and distribution network. One of the key components of that lies in tapping into those brands' loyalty programs. For independents who want to truly stay that way there are some great options available; however, it's important to find the right fit for your hotel as there is no one size fits all like the brands.  "Just because a loyalty program is "free to join" does NOT mean that it's free. Every booking that comes through your shiny new loyalty program comes at a cost and that cost can add up quickly if the program is cannibalizing direct bookings rather than driving incremental bookings for your property." Whichever provider you choose make sure that you are keeping a pulse on cost and are comparing that to OTAs.  Then compare the total bookings to OTAs.  If you are paying 7% on direct bookings to a program that isn't driving incremental guests to your property you may be better off with a 12% OTA commission so it's important to think strategically and analytically about your decision.  "Ask yourself: is this loyalty program actually going to drive loyalty or is it just a mechanism to incentivize direct bookings on my website?" As with any technology decision, independents should think about their business mix and objectives before signing on with an independent loyalty program.  Signing with the wrong loyalty program can end up being a huge time suck without material gains and sometimes even hurt your business if they are eating away at your direct bookings but not providing new ones.   San Francisco's Hotel Abri (pictured) is part of the Stash Rewards program There are 2 main ways that an independent loyalty program can bring value to your property: 1. Increase conversion rate on your website 2. Drive new bookings through their online portal When deciding which independent hotel loyalty program to join consider the following: 1. Unit economics and breakeven analysis: Assuming the loyalty program shifts various levels of your direct bookings onto the program - how much profit would your hotel lose per month?  How much would the program have to increase your website conversion rate at each level to help you regain that profitability? 2. Is their network actually valuable? How much volume does the program drive to hotels like yours?  Ask for a reference hotel in your market segment and see whether the program is actually delivering the business they tell you that they can.  How much web traffic does their booking portal have?  A huge network isn't much use to you as a hotelier if they don't have lots of travelers booking on their portal.  Ultimately a great loyalty program will drive a material amount of new business so if they don't have traffic on their branded OTA style website - ask them why that is.  Also ask about their geographic focus.  E.g. If you have a large mix of Asian business travelers and they don't have properties in that market, you'll want to think about whether joining is going to move the needle for your business. Ultimately we urge hoteliers to recognize that you are not just comparing loyalty programs here.  Most programs don't bring a material amount of incremental travelers to your property since the networks are still in their nascent phases.  This means that the majority of the value is in driving direct bookings.  If a loyalty program is charging you 10% on each booking that capitalizes on the program and you get $3,000 worth of bookings in a month via redemptions you have just "paid" $300 to be a part of that program.  If you are in the 10% range for fees and getting $3,000 or more in bookings - you might want to consider spending that ~$300/month on a direct booking platform like Triptease or Stay Wanderful that won't charge commissions.   Here are the top loyalty programs for independent hotels   iPrefer (by Preferred Hotels & Resorts) iPrefer taps into a network of more than 650 independent properties around the world separated into different collections.  They consider themselves the world's "largest independent hotel brand" and given the movement although we at Hotel Tech Report don't really consider Preferred a brand.  Points can be redeemed at starting at $1,250 for a $25 gift certificate to a participating property in the network. iPrefer's web portal has about 3x the traffic of the #2 provider on this list so they are the most likely to drive incremental bookings for your property. Another unique facet of iPrefer is the network and the fact that you can achieve Elite Status within the program just like at major programs like SPG.  Elite members receive benefits such as 10% bonus points, complimentary Wi-Fi, early check-in and welcome amenity packages.  The exchange ratio is around 2% meaning that for every $100 guests will get $2 back.  Preferred also has official partnerships in the airline space offering decent bonuses (2x) with participating airlines such as American, Alaska, British Airways, United and Air France/KLM. Read iPrefer reviews from verified clients GuestBook Rewards GuestBook Rewards is the fastest growing program in the space offering the easiest and has the simplest offer around - 5% cash back.  Guest can then choose to redeem points at a participating hotel for 10% "trip cash".  The GuestBook has quickly grown to 600 hotels within just a few years having launched later than Stash Rewards and likely due to the fact that guests often want cash back, especially leading up to the point where the network provides real value.  Our guess is that GuestBook's network isn't quite large enough to attract many new guests to your property but is getting close and has the best chances of getting there due to the instant value they provide to bookers. The Company also launched a partnership to integrate directly with TravelClick's iHotelier Booking Engine which will likely help grow their network over the next couple of years.  The GuestBook also has the #2 online portal by our web traffic estimates (#1 is iPrefer) meaning that they are the likely to drive some amount incremental bookings to the most popular hotels in the ecosystem. Read Guestbook Rewards reviews from verified clients Catalonia Rewards (by Wanup) European based Catalonia Rewards is one of the newest to the market but is also growing rapidly and has signed on more than 400 hotels since it launched in September of 2016.  Similar to The GuestBook Wanup offers cash back between 3-6% depending on the tier of the member.  The program also offers F&B discounts which are usually a smaller/more profitable offer than straight cash back and perceived as higher value in the mind of the guest.  If you have frequent visits from European travelers Catalonia Rewards may be preferable to The GuestBook but if you have a global traveler base you're probably better off with using The GuestBook or iPrefer as they offer more reach in the network. Read Catalonia Rewards Reviews from verified clients Stash Rewards Stash Rewards has over 200 hotels in their portfolio and is very U.S. focused. Guests receive 5 points per dollar and a point is worth ~$0.01 per dollar according to our sources which is not bad.  The install base hasn't grown much in recent years so it's worth asking why that is before joining on with the program.  Make sure to ask the questions in the article above before signing on and read verified Stash reviews from hoteliers like you who use the program.  Stash Rewards sponsored a very interesting research study at Cornell's hospitality school in 2014 showing that loyalty programs can help increase room nights with frequent travellers and while the dynamics of direct bookings and consumer preferences have changed quite a bit in the last 4-5 years the study provides a good foundation for how to think about whether a loyalty program will meet your hotel's goals. Read Stash Rewards reviews from verified clients Voila Hotel Rewards Voila Rewards features over 100 independent hotels around the world and while it has a U.S. presence is much more focused on Asia and Europe.  This program offers a tiered system like iPrefer.  Guests may choose to exchange points for airline miles but not at an economical rate so it's more just a vanity option.  With Voila there is a 2x points bonus when members reach Platinum status (20 nights in 12-months) so this program is great for hotels who have frequent business travelers but due to the small network might not be as attractive for destination properties with a high leisure mix. Read Voila Hotel Rewards reviews from verified clients InnDependent InnCentives (by IBC Technologies) IBC's loyalty program for independent hotels helps owners increase direct bookings to their properties by allowing guests to choose from hotel credits, airline miles, eGift cards, merchandise, charities and more.  By offering alternative redemptions this network is valuable despite having a smaller user base than some of the others on this list.  We think that the options for guests are attractive; however it might not offer the best value for redemptions given that they are purchased from 3rd party providers.  The company also doesn't offer a separate booking portal like some of the others on this list which means they don't offer the reach that some of the other programs do. Read IBC Hospitality Loyalty revviews from verified clients Check out the 5 top rated loyalty programs for independent hotels

Hotel Tech Report
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An untapped group that properties should engage: the local community

When guests arrive at your property, is it teeming with life and energy, or quiet and nearly empty in common areas? If you are looking to have an energetic vibe at your hotel, think about an untapped group that are near your property every day: locals. Tapping into your local community can help your property in a number of ways. Bringing in steady traffic: The first focus for tapping your local community is to have a steady stream of traffic onto your property. This can help with F&B sales, spa services, and even ‘stay-cation’ stays. Locals are a great group that can visit your property more than once a year, or even once a month. Having steady traffic from your local community is a great way to build loyalty and sales. You can provide local specials or food and beverage that showcase history or activity in the community. Showing energy and engagement at your property: Having a good number of locals can also help create the energy and engagement you seek at your property. Imagine a new visitor coming onto your property for the first time, and seeing your lobby bar full of activity and happy visitors, your restaurant booked for the evening and overall strong engagement between locals who are proud of their city and visitors who are interested in learning more about the city they are in. As engagement foundation, locals should be a cornerstone for your property’s activity. Encouraging great reviews: One final consideration is how your locals can boast about your amazing property features, as they have access to them every day. Encourage locals to share what they love about visiting your property and what makes their visits special. There may be a spa service they come for, a drink they enjoy after a hard day’s work, or simply the ambiance and luxury the property gives them. By sharing these tips, they are helping you showcase the best features of your property – and it may even be things you did not know. Tap into the amazing local community around your property. They can give you engagement that your guests will enjoy and make your property the place to be.

Lisa Apolinski
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Africa set to benefit from global loyalty network

Conferencing, meetings and events capacity on the rise across the continent.Business travel across the African continent is, well, big business. Not only is it on the rise, but the foundations that support it are growing apace. From improved air access to increased hotel capacity for conferencing, many nations across the continent are shaping up for a competitive future. With the development of business travel facilities, leisure travel opportunities are also growing.Who's travelling?There's continent-wide development taking place, countries such as India, China, Singapore and more are partnering with African countr ies to hasten the development process by building networking capabilities, transport solutions and construction projects at an unprecedented rate. Protea Hotels by Marriott is deep into this new wave of Afrocentricity, with 65 acquisitions and property developments in the pipeline, geared towards ensuring that the infrastructure is there to support material growth.Regional travel is also growing, and, with the hotel developments, frequent travellers will benefit from loyalty programs. Marriott Rewards, the world's biggest loyalty program with over 100 million members “ and a million new members every month “ is ideally placed to suit the super-traveller. Elite members spend anything between 25 and 100 bed nights per year in hotels, so the loyalty program can provide accommodation at a premium to those businesses who require accommodation representation in many different countries.You could be in Ghana one month and Kenya the next, ten years ago the headache of making travel arrangements made the trips thankless, full of red tape and often resulting in having to stay in sub-standard accommodation. With global companies entering into the equation, there's more parity in between establishments, and a greater chance that the business traveller will have their preferences and expectations met. The point is, big players have noted that the need has been there to develop in under-developed spaces, and these needs are rapidly being fulfilled. Gone are the perceptions that countries in Africa will never compete with "the West", the reality is that with infrastructural developments, African countries are increasingly capable of holding their own against countries to the north, east and west.Besides the benefit to the end user, the traveller, entire local economies are benefiting from these hotel developments. Getting a hotel up and running, or refurbishing an existing hotel has an extensive ripple effect througho ut many sectors, from construction to design. Architects and interior designers, graphic designers and tech specialists, marketers and advertisers and the many tiers to the supply chains of bedding, food and beverages all benefit. With growth and expansion come much-needed employment opportunities, and, again, with a global chain, it's possible for team members to develop world-class skills and expose them to international employment opportunities.Picture for a moment how many people it takes to staff one hotel. Then multiply that by 65 and the numbers become mind boggling. Thousands of individuals and their families will have the opportunity to enjoy job security.Conferencing, meetings and eventsAffordability is at the heart of planning when it comes to business travel, especially in event planning and logistics. Having more facilities available for conferencing reduces the need for extended flights, and having more flight routes available p rovides ease of access to more destinations. The travel and business network is growing at a furious pace. Couple the infrastructure that facilitates this with massive growth in internet access and business people are able to conduct more business online “ saving time and money.Take a look at Rwanda, currently the jewel in the continent's crown for the rate at which it has brought its citizens online, providing the means of access to the internet. In a country with few natural resources, online access means access to trade opportunities that may not have otherwise been available. Besides e-commerce, computer literacy gives locals the opportunity to become global citizens. In the 23 years since the horrific conflict that tore the nation apart, they've reimagined themselves as the country showcasing the possibilities for development in Africa."Bleisure" travel a secondary benefitBusiness travel is on the rise, as is leisure travel. With growth in the volumes of middle-class black travellers the tourism industry is set to boom. More than old-school safari experiences, people want to have immersive experiences across the many countries within Africa with the vast array of cultural offerings. Across borders there's such variety that we'll start to see each nation being individually identified “ no longer will international travellers refer to Africa as one homogenous place, but, with improved access and facilities to each country, differentiation will occur: travellers will get to know the difference between Ethiopia and Botswana or South Africa and Tanzania.The route to Africa is opening up, and, if you haven't explored for both business and leisure purposes, it's time to get going.

Scott Dunlop
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