Capitalizing on Location-Based Travel Rewards

Summer officially starts in one day, and I’ve got travel on the brain. Given the outrageous airfares and hotel rates I’ve seen of late, I’m looking to rack up as many points as possible through travel and hotel rewards programs. If you want to maximize point-earning opportunities or you’re in the travel or hotel business and looking for ways to expand your loyalty program, start taking advantage of location-based social networks.

Several loyalty programs are already in on location-based rewards. Intercontinental Hotels Group’s Priority Club® Rewards, Hilton HHonors®, and Caesars Entertainment’s Total Rewards® are among the rewards programs on Topguest, a platform through which users can connect their Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Gowalla, and Instagram accounts to earn points, rewards, and discounts.

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Mobile Phones: The New Wallet

Your mobile phone probably hasn’t replaced your wallet yet, but it could in the next few years. Several retailers have tested or implemented in-store mobile payment systems, including Starbucks, which launched its mobile payment program at stores nationwide in January 2011. Using the Starbucks Card Mobile App, customers can pay for purchases with their BlackBerry, iPhone, or iPod Touch by scanning the on-screen barcode at the point of sale.

Starbucks Card Mobile App

Beyond mobile applications, advancements in near field communication (NFC) the wireless technology that connects devices over a short range of a few centimeters will drive adoption of in-store mobile payment systems.

NFC isn’t new, but it has recently created a lot of buzz stateside and companies are getting behind it. The NFC Forum recently welcomed 32 new members, including Google. Among the industry association’s highest level of members are Microsoft, Visa, MasterCard, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony.

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