Skift Backstage Podcast: What Next-Level Hotels Have in Common

Cookie-cutter uniformity is not what most travelers are seeking from hotels these days. Instead, discerning guests want local food, curated experiences, thoughtful design, and even a touch of quirkiness.

On this episode of the Skift Podcast, we’re hearing from some of the pros who make a living connecting travelers with standout hotel experiences. James Lohan and Tamara Heber-Percy are the founders of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a travel club that started out as a guidebook featuring under-the-radar boutique hotels. We also have an interview with Claus Sendlinger, CEO and founder of Design Hotels.

They all spoke at Skift Forum Europe in London earlier this year and sat down with us behind the scenes in the Skift Take Studio.

Our talks touched on the evolution of hotel design and consumer demands, the beyond-the-spa experiences that travelers are craving, and the needs that hotels still aren’t quite meeting.

This is one of several conversations we’re bringing you from backstage at Skift Forum Europe.

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What Hotels Are Doing to Win Your Loyalty

This is the year that travelers might have to start questioning their hotel loyalties, if only because hotel loyalty programs are changing so much.

Marriott is merging its program with Starwood’s SPG. Hyatt’s new program just launched. And Hilton recently announced a slate of new features.

And all of these changes are taking place as online travel agencies continue to lure many travelers driven by price rather than points, and up-and-coming accommodations providers like Airbnb win fans without even offering a loyalty program.

On today’s episode of the Skift podcast, we’re talking hotel loyalty: who’s doing it right, who’s still trying, and how it is continuing to evolve.

Our guest is Gary Leff, founder of the View from the Wing blog and an expert on points programs. He joins podcast host Hannah Sampson and Skift hospitality editor Deanna Ting.

We’ll also hear from some interviews that Ting did at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in L.A. with Scott Berman, U.S. hospitality and leisure practice leader at PwC; Best Western Hotels & Resorts president and CEO David Kong; and Langham Hospitality Group CEO Robert Warman.

Start listening to The Skift Podcast, today. Subscribe via iTunes, Google Play, or RSS.