Most Shoppers in Need of ‘Payback’

As part of the launch today of a new
generation loyalty program for Carlson Hotels Worldwide, the company
released a survey showing one third of American shoppers exceeded their
holiday shopping budgets in 2004. The survey was conducted by *NOP World
on behalf of Carlson Hotels Worldwide and its participating brands,
including Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts,
Country Inns & Suites By Carlson and Park Inn. The survey of over
1,000 adult Americans also reveals that more than half would liked to have
spent more time with their families and on relaxing pursuits when asked
what they wanted, but did not receive for the holidays. When asked what they would do differently this year, more than half
surveyed said that in lieu of gifts, they would prefer planning a weekend
away. In fact, when asked how they would use an unlimited amount of reward
points, 25 percent of consumers would take a tropical vacation, while 20
percent would go away for a romantic weekend. Approximately 20 percent of
respondents said they would prefer to use their reward points on
restaurant and retail gift certificates, while almost 14 percent said that
they would use their rewards for a charitable donation. Almost 50 percent
of respondents said they would like to be more creative with their budgets
in 2005 and are open to learning about new ways to earn as they spend,
thereby receiving some sort of “payback.”

“Goldpoints plus(SM),” the new loyalty program for Carlson Hotels
Worldwide, aims to do just that by offering members more ways to earn
points for rewards faster and more freedom to redeem them, than any other
hotel loyalty program.

The company has redesigned its hotel loyalty program with input from
customers to provide members with a seamless experience and superior value
that combines the strengths of all of the Carlson hotel loyalty programs
under one umbrella. Members of “goldpoints plus” can now earn Gold
Points(R) when they stay at Carlson’s more than 800 participating
properties worldwide. This includes all the Carlson affiliated hotels in
the Americas, and partner properties operated by Rezidor SAS Hospitality
in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In addition to hotel accommodations, “goldpoints plus” members will have
access to the Gold Points Reward Network, which includes over 100
name-brand online retail partners plus an array of award options such as
dining, gift certificates and merchandise options from leading brands.
Carlson’s restaurant operations, including T.G.I. Friday’s(R) and Radisson
Seven Seas Cruises(R), are also part of the network.

“We are proud to introduce a new loyalty program that rewards travelers
for their loyalty to our hotel brands by giving them enhanced earning
power and more ways to redeem those points year-round,” said Trudy Rautio,
president, Carlson Hotels Worldwide, The Americas. “Our new program
provides our customers with unprecedented ability to earn points faster—
and with greater flexibility and convenience than any other hotel brand.”

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The NOP World survey also pinpointed which celebrities Americans thought
were deserving of some positive “payback” of their own. Lance Armstrong
was selected by approximately 26 percent of respondents for his “Live
Strong” campaign, while approximately 24 percent chose Sandra Bullock for
her recent donation to help the tsunami victims. Oprah Winfrey was third,
with 21 percent of respondents saying she deserved payback for her
philanthropic efforts year-round. *NOP World is a leading supplier of
syndicated and custom research.
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