One hotel group hopes to improve your business trip, not just with late checkout, room upgrades, gift cards or free continental breakfast, but with a smoother airport experience.
For the first time ever, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is teaming up with the hospitality sector to make it easier to begin the process for PreCheck screening. The program is the latest reward option for Club Carlson loyalty members, who will need to redeem 65,000 points to cover the $85 PreCheck application fee. The perk will be available beginning July 1.
Though the TSA and the hotel group have been in talks for more than a year, the conversation kicked into high gear about four months ago, according to Susan Peckenschneider, director of global partnerships for Carlson. “We moved this launch to the top of our list,” she says, noting that Carlson is the first to market with this option.
Peckenshneider says she thinks the reward option will be most valuable for business travelers and for loyalty program members at the elite levels who want to offload points on something that can be truly useful.
The partnership is beneficial to everyone involved. The reward option offers the TSA another avenue to find PreCheck participants -- which will cut down waiting times at airport security -- while the hospitality group will benefit by attracting and retaining loyalty members. “We want our members to remain sticking with the program and to come back to our brand, and the best way to do that is to offer rewards that are enticing, relevant and valuable to their travel experience,” Peckenschneider says.
The idea originated, in part, from Carlson customers. “Over the past year we’ve conducted insight sessions -- via direct interview, surveys,” Peckenschneider says. “A consistent theme was to make [the loyalty program] more rewarding for them. We looked at competition and listened to member feedback. Outside of more ways to redeem points, they said, ‘help me with my travel experience.’”
A day after the partnership was announced, Peckenschneider said that focus group members and hotel managers were already responding positively. Though she says there are plans to further the relationship between Carlson and the TSA, she did not elaborate.
If airport security lines continue to jam up, we suspect other hotels will start offering their guests the option to speed through.