Hotel loyalty has become a widely discussed topic in today’s competitive hospitality industry. However, the concept of loyalty is not one-size-fits-all, especially when it comes to hotels of different types and sizes. So let’s shed light on the intricacies of hotel loyalty and provide insights into developing customized loyalty programs. By understanding the hotel’s goals, current and past guest behavior, and data gathering from existing data sets, hotels can create effective strategies to cultivate guest loyalty and enhance overall guest experiences.
Defining Hotel Loyalty
Hotel loyalty, as a concept, lacks a universal definition. Depending on its unique characteristics, target market, and brand identity, each hotel needs to establish its own understanding of loyalty. Moving beyond simply imitating larger hotel brands and instead consider the diverse customer base that independent resorts, small regionalized chains, global chains, luxury properties, and two-to-three-star properties cater to. By recognizing the distinctiveness of each situation, hotels can develop loyalty strategies that align with their specific objectives. At the heart of it, guests are loyal to places where they have great personalized experiences and where they feel valued.
Setting Clear Goals for the Hotel
When contemplating loyalty programs, hotels must first identify their goals. While the common objective is to encourage guests to return repeatedly, the definition of “loyalty” may differ for each property. Some hotels aim for frequent visits throughout the year, while others focus on capturing ancillary revenue or maximizing occupancy during shoulder seasons. By defining clear goals, hotels can tailor their loyalty programs to meet their unique needs and better serve their guests.
Utilizing Data for Informed Decision-Making
Data plays a vital role in designing effective loyalty programs. Hotels can leverage existing customer relationship management (CRM) systems or gather data from property management systems (PMS) and reservations to gain insights into guest behavior. Analyzing this data using business intelligence tools enables hotels to understand guest preferences, identify trends, and evaluate the performance of existing loyalty programs. Even without a formal loyalty program, hotels often possess valuable data that can be utilized to create personalized guest experiences and drive loyalty.
The Importance of a Formal Loyalty Program
Implementing a formal loyalty program offers numerous benefits. It allows hotels to obtain permission to engage with guests more personally, especially in an era of increased privacy regulations. Additionally, targeting guests based on location or previous interactions can lead to more effective marketing campaigns. Understanding where guests reside and adapting marketing efforts accordingly ensures targeted messaging and a higher likelihood of engagement.
Tailoring Loyalty Programs to Multiple Properties
For hotel chains with multiple properties, it is essential to establish loyalty programs that encompass the entire brand rather than focusing solely on individual hotels. By promoting loyalty across the brand, hotels can encourage guests to stay at different properties within the group. Promotions and incentives can be designed to reward guests for multiple stays at different properties within the collection, fostering a sense of loyalty to the brand. Integrating third-party airline programs can also be a strategic move for smaller or regionalized hotels, providing added value and attracting guests who participate in such programs.
In the ever-evolving landscape of hotel loyalty, hotels must recognize the uniqueness of their offerings and guests. Customizing loyalty strategies based on goals, guest behavior, and data insights enables hotels to cultivate lasting relationships with guests and drive revenue. By effectively implementing well-designed loyalty programs and leveraging data, hotels can stay ahead in a competitive market and deliver exceptional experiences that inspire guest loyalty.
By Shayne Paddock