This morning, after booking the next set of hotels for the upcoming week, I got an offer from Hotwire for $10 off my next booking.
I revel in working the system to my advantage, so I tried to claim it. They told my Fancy Hands assistant it was for new customers only.
How often do you see offers for new customers when you’re already a customer, especially when you’re logged in?
Had Hotwire used exclusion lists, they could have personalized the space to show me a loyalty incentive, instead.  Maybe offer me 10% off my next stay, if I can get to 200 stays for the year.
You can see via the ghostery plug-in that they’re using 9 web bugs– tools that could be used for personalization, but are not.
And you can clearly see that I’m logged into the site, while still getting their offer.
With Facebook, you have the ability to exclude audiences– to not ask folks to sign up for your email newsletter, if you already have their email. To not offer a discount on product A to people who have already bought product A.
When you give incentives to new customers without rewarding your loyal customers, you’re sending the loyal customers the wrong message. And you’re telling them that your marketing efforts are not efficient.
So my assistant called to ask about this:
They had another chance at making it right but missed it.
Bryan Eisenberg is an authority on Big Data, talking about how Amazon, Google, and other giants personalize to delight customers, create amazing experiences, and increase profits.
He recounts here how one hotel chain struggled with the same issue– not valuing their most important customers.
What are you doing to make your most loyal customers feel special?
Hotwire can’t stop with the hits.
Here is one hotel I bought (the Radisson in Chandler) for $57.54 on Priceline.
I had the option to extend it another 4 nights.

But I bought it on Hotwire for $65.46, since I wanted to take advantage of their low price guarantee.

It’s only $7 different, which is $28 total over 4 days.

But when presented with both bookings, they claimed their price guarantee applies only to published rates, not other opaque rates, even for the same hotels for the same date.

This is a unique situation. I travel so much that I often know which hotel it is. I’ll book the first night just to see which one it is, then extend it when it’s the one I want.

Bottom line– you should shop around since Priceline, Travelocity, and Hotel Tonight can often do better.

To be fair, Hotwire is usually the easiest and the best option– they show the ratings and review details. But shop around if they don’t have inventory in the city you’re looking for.