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Hotel Loyalty Programs Not a Priority for Travelers
According to Deloitte & Touche Study

For Programs to Succeed Study Suggests that Hotels Crunch Data
to Find What is Most Meaningful to Guests

By Hugo Martin, Los Angeles TimesMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jan. 28, 2013--If you are a member of a hotel loyalty program, you are probably not very loyal to your hotel.

That is one finding of a survey of about 4,000 travelers by Deloitte & Touche about how they book hotels and what guides their decisions.

Only 1 in 4 travelers spent more than 75% of their nights at their preferred brand, and 65% of frequent travelers reported staying in two or more hotel brands in the last six months, according to the survey, released last week.

Only 19% of those who responded to the survey said that a loyalty program was very important when choosing a hotel.

What are more important factors to travelers? Room rate ranked as very important to 47% of the travelers, with free parking, comfort and location also ranking high.

For loyalty programs to succeed, the Deloitte study suggested that hotels crunch some data and find what is most meaningful to guests, such as free Wi-Fi, parking, breakfast or lower rates.

A spokeswoman for Marriott International Inc., one of the nation's biggest hotel chains, disagrees with the study's conclusions.

Laurie Goldstein said guests at the hotel chain get to use their points for car rentals, airline tickets, music downloads, merchandise, event tickets and other items.

"You can even download e-books with your points," she said.

Belt designed to speed through airport security

First there was the coat, designed by a Pennsylvania businessman, lined with dozens of pockets that lets air passengers pack all of their electronic gadgets without hauling a bag onto the plane.

Then came the suitcase, designed by a Michigan marketing manager, designed to fit the exact dimensions of the space under an airline seat, to avoid carry-on bag fees charged for using the overhead compartment.

Now comes a belt marketed by a New York designer to make getting through airport security a snap.

The metal buckle snaps on and off so passengers don't have to remove the leather belt to go through the metal detectors, said Yinon Badichi, who sells the belts online and at five New York Badichi Belts shops.

The buckles of most belts are attached with permanent rivets. The advantage of snaps, Badichi said, is that they allow the metal buckles to come off quickly either to zip through airport scanners or to switch out the buckle to better match your outfit.

"I've tried it with the Transportation Security Administration," he said. "I had no problems."

Aussie avoids caning for foul language on plane

When flying to Singapore, watch your language or you could face more than a stern scolding.

A 47-year-old Australian man learned this lesson this month when he got into an altercation with another passenger on a Tiger Airways flight from Perth to Singapore.

In the heat of the feud, the man, identified in news reports as maritime industry worker Bruce Griffiths, unleashed a few obscenities and was met by Singapore police when he got to the airport.

Even though Griffiths was still in the air, his foul language violated Singapore's strict "outrage of modesty" laws, punishable by a jail term of up to two years, a fine or 24 lashes with a rattan cane.

Singapore officials reportedly confiscated Griffiths' passport but say he won't face the cane. The Aussie is being helped by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Still, the airline is not backing down, saying, "Tiger Airways has a zero-tolerance policy toward inappropriate behavior on board our aircraft."


(c)2013 the Los Angeles Times

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