For the longest time, Mandarin Oriental (M.O.) only had an agent program called the Mandarin Oriental Fan club which allows guests access to multiple benefits when booking through an M.O. Affiliate travel partner. Then earlier this year, the luxury hotel group introduced a loyalty program called ‘Fans of M.O.’ This is a single-tiered program where members will not earn any hotel points. Instead, everyone who signs up for the program enjoys benefits irrespective of the length of their stay.
The program is simple in the way that it recognizes every guest who signs up for the Fans of M.O. All guests will receive complimentary internet, a welcome amenity, and a personalized stay experience based on the preferences they update in their profile. For example, one can choose between sparkling and still as their water preference in the room.
In addition to this, every time guests book a stay directly with the hotel they can choose two add-on privileges from a host of offerings such as pressing services, early check-in, late check-out, breakfast, dining and spa credit. If the stay involves a special celebration, the hotel staff will also make the occasion memorable.
These benefits are open to everyone who signs up for the program and some of these are quite lucrative when compared to global hotel loyalty programs. For Example, with Marriott Rewards one is eligible for complimentary breakfast for two only when one completes 50 nights with the chain, as a Hilton Honors member to receive complimentary breakfast one needs to complete 40 nights or 20 stays and Radisson Rewards only offers breakfast to its top-tier Platinum members. That is a steep 60 nights to stay before the hotel is generous enough to offer gratis morning meal. In contrast, with the Fans of M.O. Guests can enjoy breakfast free of charge right from the first stay.
What other luxury hotels can learn from Fans of M.O.
Our homegrown luxury hotel brand, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts currently runs 22 luxury hotels and Vilas properties where an average night usually costs INR 17,500/ USD 260. The Oberoi Advantage Program is straightforward as well where every 5 nights in 6 months gets 1 complimentary night at any Oberoi hotel in India, Indonesia, UAE, Mauritius, and Egypt. One of the best places to redeem the complimentary night is at the luxurious Vilas properties where the price per nights starts INR 20,000 upwards. But again 5 nights every 6 months is a reasonable number to commit and probably makes sense only for business travellers with high stay budgets in Indian metro cities. Oberoi’s city hotels although fabulous come at an average price of INR 10,000 per night.
COMO Hotels & Resorts that operate 14 resorts across 8 countries give back a mere 3% of the total spend to members who sign up for COMO Club 21. Then there’s One & Only that offer 8 spectacular resorts in exotic locations. It does not offer a consumer loyalty program but has airline partnerships where stay spends are eligible to earn airmiles with participating airlines. On the other hand, even though Aman Hotels & Resorts do not have an official loyalty program for their regulars, Amanjunkies continue to remain loyal to the brand.
In comparison to the above, the Mandarin Oriental group runs 28 affluent hotels and do not offer associated partnerships with any other hotel chains. This means just like other luxury boutique brands stays in these hotels will be occasional and more leisure oriented. The brand also understands that guests willing to spend on an average 350 USD per night may not always want to come back to the same hotel in the same city yet, soft touches and recognition can go a long way to enhance stay experience and induce loyalty to the brand.
That is why the Fans of M.O. acknowledges merely every guest and offers the same privileges that larger hotel chains offer after members have proved their loyalty to the brand. The best part is that by encouraging guests to fill their preferences and choose their privileges they are now able to collect valuable data from guests and that’s the perfect amalgamation of art and science.
Excellent article. MO is doing the right thing to generate more business. It definitely puts them at a high priority for me because of this. They understand the tremendous value of making a customer feel valued. Any business that makes their customers feel valued will generate a lot of loyalty.