Hotel chain taps Zimmerman for push

ATLANTA: Bass Hotels & Resorts has hired the Zimmerman Agency to manage and publicize its long-running Priority Club and Six Continents Club reward programs, the first time it has actively promoted the programs.

ATLANTA: Bass Hotels & Resorts has hired the Zimmerman Agency to manage and publicize its long-running Priority Club and Six Continents Club reward programs, the first time it has actively promoted the programs.

ATLANTA: Bass Hotels & Resorts has hired the Zimmerman Agency to manage and publicize its long-running Priority Club and Six Continents Club reward programs, the first time it has actively promoted the programs.

Bass launched Priority Club in 1983 and Six Continents in 1966, and now claims to have the most expansive global reward program, comprising 3,000 properties in 100 countries.

Staking out wallet space for branded loyalty cards is an increasingly competitive part of the hotel business.

'It used to be that once you got somebody to sign up to your program you considered them loyal,' said Pamela Mulder, Bass' director of global communications for Priority Club. 'Now you are competing against four or five other cards in their wallet.'

Catherine Haskins is managing the account for Zimmerman, an independent firm specializing in the hospitality industry. 'We said to Bass, you are far above every other program out there - why aren't you telling people?' Haskins said.

Zimmerman plans to end the silence. 'We're starting with what we're calling our industry experts,' she said, 'talking to journalists who write in many different venues and cover the reward card area, building credibility with them.'

Zimmerman used to handle the Marriott hotel chain's Rewards program, which has 12 million enrolled members, compared to Bass' 10 million.

Other hotel chains have vigorously pitched their programs. Starwood Hotels, which owns the Westin and Sheraton brands, grabbed attention in February 1999 when it launched its Preferred Guest program. 'In the last year and a half Starwood has really come out of the box,' said Haskins.McKay Communications coordinated the effort, which included some 200 press events around the world and a celebrity luggage auction.

Starwood's loyalty club has 5 million members.



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