The direct-booking push, as manifest in member discounts and other perks, is a reaction to the increasing dominance of online travel agency (OTA) giants like Expedia and Booking.com. In an attempt to wrest back control of their revenue stream, hotel chains have begun offering the lowest rates to members who book directly. Starwood Hotels and Resorts led the way with exclusive discounted rates and free wifi when booking direct. Marriott’s Rewards members now receive lower rates when booking direct, and also benefit from free wifi, mobile check-in, and an option to earn points or discounts when reserving their room on the chain’s website. Likewise, Hilton has recently introduced discounted rates and online check-in for HHonors members, as well as the existing points program. Discounts and points alone, however, can be problematic. “Offering points is about buying loyalty,” says Nix. “I define loyalty as an emotive response to a brand.” He uses Jimmy Choo shoes as an example: You don’t buy a pair because they’re on offer. You buy them because you identify emotionally with the brand. “That’s loyalty,” he adds. “By offering discounts, hotels end up cannibalizing their rate.” Get the full story at JLL Real Views