5 Planners Speak Out On Hotel Points

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hotel points, meetings
Some planners consider the use of hotel points as unethical, while others admit that they can influence their decisions.

Hotel points. The goal is to engender loyalty among meeting planner customers. But do they influence decisions, and if companies accept them, how do they put them to use?

With all the discussion around meeting planner ethics, Prevue decided to do an informal poll of meeting planner readers and here’s what 5 of them had to say about hotel points.

“Points do not influence my decision. Prior to starting my business a year and a half ago, I worked for a large corporation who did not allow planners to keep points for contracts. This is instilled in me and I have chosen to keep this true in my business as I would never want my client to feel that it is a factor in what I present to them as the best option.  When it comes down to the contract, I generally ask the client if they want the points and if so, will use their rewards accounts. I know this is likely not how some independent planners do things, but I feel it is the ethical thing to do.”

“70% of the time, points are a factor in booking a venue.”

“Sometimes I use points, but only for guest room stays. I noticed that most hotels do not ask me for my membership number when I check in for work-related stays and at least one chain will not allow you to earn points if you are not paying for the guest room.  We cannot earn points for the meetings—they are deposited into a central company account.”

“Yes, we definitely keep our points! Because the meetings we do are generally on the small side, we always negotiate for double planner points for the lead planner on each meeting.  If one planner negotiates a contract and a different planner actually handles the program, the two planners split the points equally.

Loyalty points often provide value to those in a thankless position. It can provide an incentive to my clients that can use the points for personal vacations/trips.”

Among the uses for the points among those who claimed them were: upgrades for VIPs or comp rooms for staff; charitable donations; speaker gifts; site inspections and staff travel; lodging when participants experience travel issues and are not able to get home; disaster relief rooms; rewards for employee drawings during the holiday season.



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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.