Parsippany, N.J., January 20, 2016 – Financial planning season is here and with it, a new national study from leading hotel loyalty program Wyndham Rewards® revealing that while the majority of Americans (77%) see significant savings potential in loyalty programs, nearly a third (32%) don’t feel skilled enough to actually take advantage of them. What’s more, 64% say they would go to extremes—take the middle seat on a plane every trip extreme—if it meant someone would professionally manage their memberships for them.
What does it all mean? While travel remains high on the priority list in 2016—more than half of Americans plan to travel more this year—many of the countless rewards programs designed to help them stretch their travel dollars are proving too unwieldy for them to reap the benefits.
“Loyalty programs should be seen as financial tools that we can all leverage to maximize the return on our travels,” said Noah Brodsky, senior vice president of worldwide loyalty and engagement at Wyndham Hotel Group. “Unfortunately, over complication and constant devaluation among many programs are leaving a number of travelers confused and disappointed. A good loyalty program does the opposite, which is why we created the new Wyndham Rewards. We make it simple and easy for members to earn what they want most: a free night.”
Other key findings from the study:
Travelers are Optimistic, yet Cost-Conscious… Especially Women
Although consumer sentiment towards the U.S. economy continues to improve, the vast majority of Americans (71%) consider themselves “cost-conscious.”
- Women in particular showed a focus on savings, as 35% plan to spend less in 2016 than in 2015 while only 19% of men feel the same.
- Women also more frequently identified as “very cost-conscious” (40% of women vs. 24% of men).
Travel – A Big Part of the 2016 Budget
Lower gas prices across the country and a decrease in fuel surcharges may help make it easier to travel for less in 2016. That’s welcome news, as the study shows not only do most consumers plan to travel more in 2016 (53%), but their travel aspirations include road trips, exploring the country and visiting loved ones.
- Travel will play a prominent role in annual budgeting as 83% say travel will comprise at least a quarter of discretionary spending, while 40% say at least half of discretionary spending will go towards travel.
- More than half (54%) put exploring new locations within the US on their 2016 travel wish list and more than a third (39%) are planning more frequent visits to out of state family and friends. With gas prices at their lowest levels in more than six years, 26% plan to take a cross-country road trip this year.
Over the Top Sacrifices for Simplicity and Savings
Reinforcing the challenges of keeping up with and managing the growing number of loyalty programs in which the average American is enrolled, the majority (64%) are willing to go to extreme lengths to have their memberships professionally managed for a year. Of those that would:
- 31% are willing to manually do their own taxes for a year.
- 26% are willing to sit in middle seat on every flight for a year.
- 21% are willing to give up social media for 6 months.
- 12% are willing to downgrade to a flip phone for 6 months.
- 10% are willing to have in-laws live with them for a year.
Wyndham Rewards makes earning and redeeming generous rewards for travel both simple and attainable. The program eliminates confusing reward categories and instead offers a flat, free night redemption rate - the first of its kind for a major loyalty program. Members earn a minimum of 1,000 points for every qualified stay and for just 15,000 points, can redeem a free night at any of more than 7,500 Wyndham Rewards hotels across the globe with no blackout dates. For more information on Wyndham Rewards or to enroll, visit www.wyndhamrewards.com.
About Wyndham Hotel Group
Wyndham Hotel Group is the world’s largest hotel company based on number of hotels and is one of three hospitality business units of Wyndham Worldwide (NYSE: WYN). As both a leading hotel brand franchisor and hotel management services provider, the company’s global portfolio consists of approximately 7,760 properties and 672,000 rooms in 71 countries under the following brands: Dolce Hotels and Resorts®, Wyndham Grand® Hotels and Resorts, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts®, Wyndham Garden® Hotels, TRYP by Wyndham®, Wingate by Wyndham®, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham®, Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham®, Ramada®, Baymont Inn & Suites®, Days Inn®, Super 8®, Howard Johnson®, Travelodge® and Knights Inn®. Wyndham Rewards, the company’s guest loyalty program, offers more than 40 million members the opportunity to earn and redeem points at thousands of hotels across the world. For more information, visit www.wyndhamworldwide.com.
The Wyndham Rewards loyalty survey was conducted among the general population of the United States with 2,000 respondents aged between 18 and 65. Interviews were conducted online by Morar (previously Redshift Research) in January 2016 using an email invitation and an online survey via their Crowdology panel and partner panels.
Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 1 in 20 (95% confidence level) that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 2.19% from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
The sample was selected from the Crowdology & Crowdology partner panels. Crowdology™ is an online panel owned and operated by Morar. The Crowdology™ panel is balanced across regional, age and gender demographic factors, and is nationally representative of the US population. Each respondent completes 120 profiling questions before being accepted to join our panel. Panel Quality Management is carried out frequently to ensure reliable surveys and respondents are paid for their time at a rate that equates to the national minimum wage.