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Shangri-La and Taj to integrate loyalty programmes

Shangri-La and Taj to integrate loyalty programmes

Under the new ‘Warmer Welcomes’ programme, members will be able to redeem awards across 200 hotels

The year which has seen unprecedented hotel consolidation continues to generate changes with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Taj Resorts and Palaces announcing they will link their loyalty programmes next March.

Shangri-La’s Golden Circle and Taj Inner Circle will continue to operate as individual programmes, but under the new ‘Warmer Welcomes’ programme, members will be able to convert points to redeem awards – with top tier status matching – across 200 hotels.

It’s unusual for two separate groups to link their loyalty, since by definition, hotels seek to secure their repeat guests and not share them, but it shows how competitive pressures in the wake of the Marriott-Starwood and Accor-FRHI mergers are generating new business strategies.

With Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, St. Regis and Luxury Collection all now under Marriott International, the Asian five-star groups will hope the partnership will enable them to attract and retain their premium guests.

The 13-year-old Shangri-La Dubai hotel is in the midst of an Dhs70m renovation – a new contemporary lobby is unveiled in December – and alongside a new hotel in Doha it operates properties in Muscat and Istanbul. Taj is dominant in India and less representative in the region with one hotel in Dubai’s Business Bay, though it is keen to introduce its Vivanta by Taj brand and a Taj Exotica resort is planned on the western crescent of Palm Jumeirah.

“As hotel owner-operators who share similar values and service philosophies but have minimal overlap of properties, Taj and Shangri-La are in a unique position to establish a seamless alliance that goes beyond a marketing partnership or multi-hotel distribution platform,” said Shangri-La acting president Madhu Rao.

“Our alliance bridges two iconic Asian brands and opens up a world of new experiences for our loyal guests. We will be able to enhance brand awareness and increase market share by providing Golden Circle and Taj InnerCircle members more value and more reasons to stay with us.”

It will be interesting to see if it leads to further corporate integration.

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