Although it took longer than Aston Hotels & Resorts officials would have liked, the company unveiled a number of upgrades to its Stars Online agent loyalty program earlier this month, making it easier for members to report bookings and earn rewards when arranging Hawaii vacations for clients.
“We had hoped to launch the improvements at the end of the first quarter,” Shari Chang, Aston’s senior vice president of sales, marketing and revenue management, said with a laugh. “So we’re a few months behind.”
Completing “extensive improvements” aimed at streamlining the Stars Online incentive features and functionality, Aston started working on the enhancements last fall after consulting with agents about what types of upgrades were needed.
Simplifying how agents report bookings and manage reward points were key goals, but Aston has also added online sales and marketing collateral to the Stars site, featuring everything from customizable email templates and access to a digital image library to property brochures, maps and fact sheets.
“That’s something brand new,” Chang said, noting that agents frequently inquire about marketing collateral. “When agencies have asked us for those materials in the past, we’ve worked with them, but we’ve never just had it on the site for agents to use at will. So now they’ve got that capability, [and] they can either e-blast them out or print them for use in a direct-mail campaign.”
Chang added that Aston has also made earning free stays at its properties a much quicker process through its booking rewards program.
“Before we had some properties where you might have to book 50 nights to earn a free stay,” she said. “In most cases now it’s usually around 10 booked nights.”
Eager to have more agents visit Aston properties, Chang noted that reward nights can also be transferred easily to agents’ friends and families.
“The whole idea is to incentivize the agent and thank them for their loyalty,” she said. “And sometimes agents have others they would like to thank, so we feel this is a nice way for them to take advantage.”
Aston kicked off the launch of the improved Stars Online program, while celebrating its 65th anniversary, with a $65 cash-back promotion good for each booking of a minimum of five consecutive nights at its Hawaii properties made through Nov. 6 for travel before Dec. 21.
To learn more or register for free, visit www.astonstars.com