Pivoting Hilton’s APAC & China loyalty program from international travel to local dining


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The Brief

Hotel loyalty programs reward people according to the nights they spend in hotels. Thanks to the pandemic, Hilton Honors loyalty program had become redundant. The brief was to revive the program and keep the communication with members ongoing in a meaningful way so that in the post-pandemic environment, they’d have Hilton hotels on top of their minds.

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The Solution

Instead of finding a clever way of communicating about the wonders of the hotel, we pivoted the program to be about dining. Why? Because our analysis of behaviours of ex-avid travelling consumers revealed they had redirected their holiday spend into dining like they’re on holiday at international or gourmet dining destinations close to their homes. And Hilton hotels around APAC housed the highest number of restaurants – from basic breakfast places to pizza joints to famous restaurants manned by Michelin chefs. Whatever one’s palate gravitates towards, there is a menu at their nearest Hilton hotel.

So we turned a mainly hotel-stay based loyalty program into a dining loyalty program – Dine Like a Member with Hilton Honors. Using data we also studied dining patterns by market and learned some unique things: Malaysians love a late night supper in a hotel – so supper deals with hotels clearing off their food and pastry for the night works. In Japan, people enjoy bringing their clients for sake or beer with pizza and burgers after work. And in India, people like taking their families out to hotels for celebrations.

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The Results

  • A hyper targeted APAC campaign that was rolled out using stick photography into all APAC markets including China.
  • Hilton Honors became the first hotel loyalty program that successfully pivoted and focused on dining, turning Hilton hotels into the best dining location in many APAC markets.
  • An awareness campaign for travellers that fast turned into an acquisition drive targeting an unexpected group of “members” – gourmands and foodies.