“Earn 500 bonus Starpoints every night and an additional 5,000 every 10th night.”
Starwood Hotels (W Hotels, Westin, Sheraton) have been addressing the economic downturn with a strategy that I can only call a self-inflicted double whammy. Because of falling demand, prices for a single night at Starwood properties have been falling. While this is a normal business practice, what’s disconcerting is that at the same time, they are rolling out excessive point-earning incentives.
In exchange for short term solvency, they are guaranteeing a future “market correction.” Will it be in the form of a bankrupt points program? Will a Sheraton reward rise from 2,000 points to 10,000? Will Westin rebrand as Le Meridien? For someone with a very generous balance of points, I’m downright worried.
If anything, SPG should be increasing their rates for this fairly inelastic market. Yes, there are alternatives like video conferencing, but they’ll never replace the effectiveness of a face to face meeting. On top of that, I’m guessing that SPG’s bread & butter business traveller is as greedy as I am. The hotel stay is going to be reimbursed, so they’re not going to compromise their starpoints balance to save $20 a night by moving over to the Hilton.
I don’t care how bad the economy is, any self-respecting consultant won’t be found at a La Quinta. What’s next? Online coupons?