As part of an extensive traveler study conducted with Bing, Phocuswright asked U.S. travelers how likely they would be to shop and book hotels and booking channels outside of their loyalty programs if they found a slightly better deal or location? The answer: The vast majority of program members shop outside, and would book outside. Not surprisingly, hotel program members with more status are more likely to stay loyal. Half of members with elite status stick with the brand. However, the challenge for hotels is that there are so few elite program members. Let's be honest: Hotel loyalty program members have become anything but "loyal." Hotel brands are effectively paying travelers to join, and commoditizing the concept of loyalty in the process. True brand loyalty – the emotional connection between customer and company that directly drives repeat business, even at premium price points – remains elusive and incredibly difficult, for all travel brands. Get the full story at Phocuswright and "The Travel Marketer's Guide to the U.S. Digital Travel Landscape" (free registration) Read also "The fallibility of purchased hotel loyalty"