This week the Kimpton Hotel Group, the rapidly expanding chain of 62 funky and functional boutique hotels across the US, rolled out a unique new frequent stay program.
To me, the most unusual feature of the new Kimpton Karma Rewards program is that travelers earn points not just for spending the night (and spending money), but for interacting with the chain on a variety of levels, and earning “karma points.”
For example, guests who attend the chain’s signature “wine hour” in the hotel lobby and engage with the GM might find a thank you and bunch of bonus points for showing up the next time they log on to their Karma Rewards account. The same goes for guests who check out a free Kimpton bike for a ride around town, those who tweet, Facebook or Instagram about their stays, dine in the hotel restaurant, or hold an event at a Kimpton hotel. You can even earn extra points for booking your stay directly on the hotel’s website instead of using a third party.
These extra karma points are meant to surprise and delight guests who engage on a deeper level with the variety of experiences the hotels are known for.
“When we asked our members what they loved most about Kimpton and our old InTouch program, they did not gush about how easy it was to earn free nights. The said that they love and remember the unusual touches Kimpton provides, like yoga mats and leopard print robes in closets, the automatic $10 credit on the hotel bar or in-room mini bar, free wi-fi, or the nightly wine hour. So we decided to create a new program focused providing better experiences instead of focusing on free nights,” Kimpton’s Maggie Lang told TravelSkills.
Those extra karma points can help push members up through the four tiers of the program, which come with a raft personalized benefits. For example, those as the very top tiers get a free night at brand new Kimpton hotels, top tables and complimentary apps at hotel restaurants, spa credits and of course, room upgrades (which are only available at check in and don’t include suites, a bitter pill for fellow blogger Gary Leff). Also in the unpublished list of benefits are personalized surprises, like the one you see on this video:
Kimpton did not touch how members earn points – you still get one free night after seven visits or 20 nights. But as you can tell, the new program is not all about free nights…it’s about having a better time or richer experience during your stay.
I’ve stayed at just a handful of Kimpton hotels over the years- primarily on the West Coast… the Palomar in LA, the Solamar in San Diego and the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco come to mind. I’ve also checked into the Hotel Palomar in Atlanta while it was there (it recently switched to a Marriott brand). It has four hotels in NYC and eight in Washington, DC. Kimpton hotels definitely have an colorful, quirky, hip vibe, that I enjoy and I’ve always felt like they get “the little things” exactly right.
What are your thoughts on Kimpton hotels and the new Karma Rewards program? Please leave your comments below.
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