Shangri-La, Taj merge loyalty programmes

DELHI: Shangri-La International Hotel Management and Taj Hotels, Palaces, Resorts and Safaris have integrated their loyalty programmes, GoldenCircle and InnerCircle, respectively, into one proposition ‘Warmer Welcomes’.

With this development, loyalty card members of both programmes have to log in to and link both accounts. The website went live yesterday.

warmer welcomes loyalty programmeTalking to the media at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, Wee Kee Ng, Vice President, Loyalty & Partner Marketing, Shangri-La International said, “Warmer Welcomes is the marriage of two complementary brands, with Shangri-La being a strong brand in China, while Taj having an equally stronger footprint in India.”

This integration will make the loyalty programmes more valuable, he said. “We have sent out electronic data mailers to the 6 million combined members of both programmes about Warmer Welcomes. Through the website, a guest only needs to link the two accounts to enjoy the benefits of Warmer Welcomes in a larger geographical base,” he added.

Chinmai Sharma, Chief Revenue Officer, Taj Hotels, Palaces, Resorts, Safaris, said that both the programmes will be independent, and members on both sides have the option of tying the accounts together on a common card.

“This will offer a wider choice of 200 hotels to earn and redeem points. With both programmes are growing, and India and China being strong outbound growing markets, this integration augurs well from the business perspective for both companies.”

Commenting on how this integration will merge with the change in brand architecture of Taj announced in February this year, Sharma said, “We made a conscious decision to establish a mono brand company to significantly improve our product and services. In the next 12 months, we will roll out the single brand by integrating the Vivanta by Taj and Gateway brands with significant capital investment.”

Dismissing reports of dissensions among owners , Sharma said, “All owners of our respective brands understand that Taj as the mother brand offers great value. We have received positive feedback from owners that this decision will eventually drive more business.” Owners have wholeheartedly extended their support to undertake significant investment. By the first quarter of the next calendar year, the exercise will be over, he said.

Musafir Namah Bureau


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