Running a successful guest loyalty program doesn’t mean you need to have a massive budget to compete with big brands. There are several things smaller hotels can do to attract, retain, and reward guests for long term loyalty. As part of our recent hospitality study, we asked 7,000 travelers what it would take to gain their loyalty. Based on their feedback, here are the 3 most important elements to consider.
1. If you want to attract your guests’ attention, be their local ambassador.
70% of global guests want hotels to provide more advice on unique activities to do in the area before their trip. Yet, only 20% of them can get this unique advice from the hotel they are interested in. This is a lucrative opportunity for hoteliers since travelers that book activities ahead of their trip spend 47% more on lodging than those who wait until they arrive. Here’s some ideas to help create unique experiences that prove you’re a trusted source for local culture.
- Partner with as many local businesses as you can. Travelers want options, so craft exclusive ways for your loyal guests to easily experience what’s trending around town.
- Immerse guests in the local flavor without forcing them to leave the property. Hang art from local artists in the lobby or invite a band to play during happy hour.
- Use your marketing channels to promote the benefits of your location and what unique attractions guests can enjoy. Leverage social media accounts to continually update what’s new and trending in your property and in the area.
2. If you want to build guest loyalty you need guest data
Once your guests have stayed with you for the first time, over half of them expect you to anticipate their needs the next time they visit. Historically, this kind of anticipatory service was only used for VIP level guests. Today it’s a commonplace expectation. Without technology, the ability to collect, manage, and utilize guest data at scale becomes impossible. This is why hoteliers are starting to integrate their CRM strategies with the right technology so they can find the right solution that encompasses the entire guest lifecycle. Look for technology that can:
- Collect multiple sources of guest data in a centralized location via a profile to be analyzed
- Expose guest preferences, behaviors, and important attributes to staff to enhance the personalization across any interaction
- Know exactly what kind of content your guests think are valuable, their preferred channels to communicate, and exactly when to engage with them based on their past behaviors
- Connect to social media or peer review sites so your most devoted guests can share their experiences online that boost your online reputation
- Easily create loyalty programs for different types of guests, and be able to modify the rewards over time based on changes in guest desires
Once you know how to collect your guests’ data, you need their permission.
3. If guests are going to trust you with their data, they want something in return.
Guest loyalty is no longer just a simple point redemption program. It has become a highly personal experience, and hoteliers must refine the ways they nurture each guest relationship. Become every guest’s trusted experience advisor with rich content and rewards that matter to them.
Engage with them because you know who they are, and constantly improve the ways your teams provide service. If you want more tips on how to personalize the guest experience and future proof your brand, download our whitepaper “Drivers of Change in Hospitality”.