Loyalty the key to Hotelclub turnaround

Loyalty the key to Hotelclub turnaround
By admin


Accommodation booking site Hotelclub is clawing back its place in Australia’s online landscape after years of decline, with a revised customer proposition behind the shift.

Created in 1996, the site was one of the first in the local travel space with members paying for the “club” privileges it offered.

“But over time, we lost relevance,” president Nicolas Chu told Travel Today. “We became more or less like other sites – a booking engine selling hotels online with no strong point of difference, and probably with less people and less resources.”

But in the year since Chu took on the top role, the focus has been on distinguishing itself from ever increasing competition from other online players and hoteliers themselves. A new management team and new strategy has seen Hotelclub “go back to its roots”.

“We had a very strong loyalty program so we decided to build on this and give the club benefits so the whole value proposition of the company now is it’s a travel club, not another online booking site,” he said.

Although customers will have access to the same inventory and rates offered by others, they will also be offered a range of specially negotiated perks such as free wifi, or room upgrades at various properties with membership at no extra cost. They will also receive a credit worth 7% of each booking to redeem on a future hotel stay. Last year HotelClub members redeemed close to AUD $5,000,000, Chu revealed.

“It’s a marketing cost but we see it as us giving back to our customers,” he said. “It’s important to understand that nowadays hotel online booking has become a commodity and if you don’t add any value, there’s no reason for people to book with you – there’s no loyalty in this space.”

Hotelclub relaunched in June with a new site, logo and brand promise and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Chu.

Figures support the claim with the firm posting eight months of “healthy double digit growth” after several years in decline. It has also seen its customer base increase “significantly” to its current tally of 5 million members globally with Australia representing a “big chunk”.

Although the company is strongly pushing into Asia with new offices in Hong Kong and China, Chu insisted the Australian market remains a priority.

“Asia is a real focus but so is Australia. The growth will come from Asia but a big chunk of our revenue is still coming from Australia,” he said.

“We have a real tendency to forget about Australia but there’s huge potential here still.”

Meanwhile, mobile continues to rise in importance as a booking channel. This year to date has seen a 300% rise in downloads of the Hotelclub app. Mobile accounts for around a quarter of all bookings but Chan expects that to rise to a third by the end of the year.

Latest News

  • Aviation

Korean Air signs MoU with Boeing to upgrade and expand its widebody fleet.

Korean Air has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Boeing at the Farnborough International Airshow to upgrade and expand its widebody fleet. The airline has announced its intent to procure 20 Boeing 777-9s and 20 Boeing 787-10s with options for 10 more of the largest 787 Dreamliner variant today (Monday). The signing ceremony was attended […]

  • Technology

Australian agents responded quickly to Crowdstrike crash

Local travel professionals and businesses moved quickly into action to provide support to the many Australians whose travel plans were thrown into chaos on Friday and into the weekend. The chaos was the result of the flow-on effect of the suspension of check-in services and flights domestically and globally. A blue screen with the outage […]

  • News

Booking.com and Airbnb named as the preferred booking platforms of digital nomads

A new YouGov Survey has found that booking.com and Airbnb are the most popular booking platforms for digital nomads. For this poll a ‘Digital Nomad’ was defined as someone who travels freely for an extended period (at least one week), while working remotely using technology and the internet. YouGov Surveys have found that almost one […]

  • Attractions
  • Food & Beverage

Singapore Airlines has been announced as the first airline partner of Taste Port Douglas

Singapore Airlines has been announced as the first airline partner of Taste Port Douglas food festival presented by Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas. The Taste Port Douglas Takeover Series now has a presentation partner in Singapore Airlines and features Michelin star chef, Michael Wilson from Singapore marking this the first time the festival has […]

  • Food & Beverage

Exciting culinary experiences across Asia

Here is a look at some exciting experiences across Asia to enhance traveller vacations in iconic cities across the continent. The Mai Restaurant at Meliá Chiang Mai Located on the 21st floor of the iconic hotel, the Mai Restaurant has launched a Thai-inspired afternoon tea for two that pays tribute to the Baan Tawai Wood […]

  • Regional
  • Tour Operators

On Foot Holidays launches Ligurian Hills hiking tour promotion

Australians can explore Italy’s Ligurian Hills on foot on a self-guided, inn-to-inn hike with Onn Foot Holidays new promotional rates. Liguria is a coastal region in north-western Italy near the French border, known for its mountains, rolling hills and seaside ports. On Foot Holidays’ seven-night holiday begins with two days of walking through vineyards and […]

  • Products

Mandarin Oriental takes a dive into swimwear with $360 board shorts

If you were inspired by The Inspired Unemployed’s Liam Moore limited-edition pair of Budgy Smugglers but want a bit more coverage, then here’s your chance. The Orlebar Brown brand has introduced an original design of the Bulldog swim short for Mandarin Oriental hotels – yours for a snip at US$242.25 (AU$360). They have been “designed […]

  • Health & Wellness
  • Luxury

Trisara showcases sustainable dining via wellspring program

Phuket-based resort Trisara is transporting guests from resort to farm to table then back again courtesy of a new limited-time program, Wellspring. The package is a collaboration with Tri Vananda, a US$182 million (AU $270 million) wellness community in northern Phuket, conceived by Montara Hospitality Group, the owners of Trisara. In addition to entitling guests […]