The new "loyalty" program from Yotel sounds great in the email marketing. Alas, it doesn't live up to that hype.

Yotel’s new not-really-a-Loyalty Program

New hotel loyalty programs are few and far between. Few chains are large enough where one makes sense and also still need such. Yotel is a growing brand and decided the time is ripe to launch a membership/loyalty program. The problem is that it has nothing to do with loyalty.

The new "loyalty" program from Yotel sounds great in the email marketing. Alas, it doesn't live up to that hype.
The new “loyalty” program from Yotel sounds great in the email marketing. Alas, it doesn’t live up to that hype.

The marketing email message is hard to argue: Save at least 10% on all bookings in a few cities; savings in other locations are not guaranteed.

Register for membership today and save at least 10% every time you book a stay in New York, Boston and Singapore. This is not your traditional loyalty programme – membership is simple with no blackout dates and no restrictions.

Indeed, the fine print on the website only lists Boston and New York (missing Singapore) and notes that the discount is a best effort sort of situation, “We don’t guarantee the level of discount, but we endeavour to offer 10% off.”



The fine print reveals the strict tie between marketing and discount.
The fine print reveals the strict tie between marketing and discount.

The program also requires consent to receive marketing emails and pop-up offers on the company website. Skip those and you get no discount rate (emphasis mine).

Register with our YOTEL Membership Programme to receive discounts on selected bookings. By opting-in to our Programme you are agreeing to our terms of use and marketing policy (see T&Cs in footer). You will receive our latest offers by email and may see pop-ups when you are on our site. You do not have to sign-up to make a booking, but if you don’t you won’t receive discounts.

While personal data will not be distributed to third parties Yotel’s marketing offers will represent those groups.

It is reasonable to argue that without opting in to the marketing a program member offers no value to the company so that membership should not be rewarded with the discount. At the same time, calling it anything related to a loyalty program is a disservice to the concept of loyalty.



Perhaps worst of all it seems that the program is far too easy to game.

Opt in. Make a booking. Opt out. Maybe you’ll get an email or a few pop-up ads during that short window of activity, but probably not much. And saving 10% just for that seems reasonable enough. Sure, the company hopes its members won’t bother with that extra action, but it is an easy one.

Loyalty programs done right can deliver great value to a company and to its members. Sadly this does not seem to be that sort of program. It’ll get the enrollments and such and probably make the chain some money. Heck, driving the direct bookings saves a ton on commissions, even with the 10% discount figured in.

But it has nothing to do with loyalty.

Seth Miller has over a decade of experience covering the airline industry. With a strong focus on passenger experience, Seth also has deep knowledge of inflight connectivity and loyalty programs. He is widely respected as an unbiased commentator on the aviation industry. He is frequently consulted on innovations in passenger experience by airlines and technology providers. You can connect with Seth on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .