In the hotel industry, guest loyalty can make all the difference in the success of a hotel chain or company. New customers and frequent guests are valuable and always welcome, but it is important to remember that those long-term loyal hotel members are who will speak your name to all their friends and family and in the long run, have the biggest impact on your hotel’s growth.
Happy and loyal guests are the people who keep coming back to your hotel time after time. They may not be frequent visitors, but you can rest assured that when they do travel, they will choose your hotel as their preferred choice. As such, you must consider, how are you making sure that they continue to be satisfied by your accommodations and services? How do you cater to your guests or reward them for their loyalty? Are you actively nurturing the positive relationship you have established with them? Have you introduced a hotel loyalty program to give back to your guests?
We have listed 5 ways for you to boost your hotel marketing and increase guest loyalty so that they continue to choose your brand and hospitality above all others.
Create Valuable Hotel Perks
What can you offer guests to make their stay more enjoyable and convenient? This might be early check-in or late checkout free of charge. Maybe it’s a free breakfast or invitation to an exclusive onsite event during their stay. Perhaps you spoil your guests with goodies upon arrival, offer discounted pricing for activities or theme parks in the area, provide free airport shuttle transportation, or a complimentary cocktail with dinner. Whatever those nice little extras are, be sure to include a list of the perks every loyalty member will receive as part of their hotel membership.
Check in with your guests by using surveys and train your staff to ask about their stay while recording their answers. What is it your guests like most? What is it they could do without? What is it your team can improve on? The more data you collect, the better you can refine the experience into one that proves to be of highest value. High value equals more loyalty, more loyalty means a customer for life, which can be far more profitable than someone who may be a guest with your frequently, but temporarily.
People like to receive free stuff and feel a sense of gratitude toward those who bestow such gifts. Make the most of the guest experience and nurture guest loyalty to entice guests to book their next trip or sign up for your hotel rewards program.
Introduce a Reward Points System
The gamification of the customer experience never seems to shy away from the fact that people love to earn points. According to 2017 loyalty program marketing statistics, enrollment for hotel loyalty programs has grown by 31% over the past four years. And, 87% of large companies state customer experience efforts such as these have made a positive impact. That’s a big percentage of the market you may be able to capitalize on when you put forth some effort.
By initiating a points system, you can incentivize your guests to keep coming back, providing you with numerous opportunities to satisfy their needs and eventually create a loyal relationship. Establish a tiered points system, the more points they earn, the bigger the “prize” they can receive, such as free room upgrades or complimentary nights. When they hit different loyalty tiers, create extra rewards or introduce a few surprises as a form of thanks. This could be an upgrade to a suite, a complimentary bottle of champagne, or a free dinner with a guest in your hotel restaurant. Consider what makes sense financially for your company, and set a points scale in place.
You will also want to remind guests with incentives of why they should redeem their points. Research performed by Deloitte shows 82 percent of people who are part of a hotel loyalty program redeem their points when the opportunity arises, like if they receive a promo code or offer when they’re planning a trip. When you have this level of engagement with your hotel, why not capitalize on it?
Deliver a Unique Experience
In order to do this, you must first identify what makes your hotel stand apart from others. What do you offer that is a value differentiator? The experience matters for those who are already loyal to your brand, but it will also capture the interest of those who have not become hotel loyalty rewards members. For example, a guest may choose your hotel primarily because they like your exclusive bedding and complimentary cookies offered upon check-in. Get creative with the ideas you use to market your hotel and showcase your unique style. Here are a few popular ideas for hotel perks and rewards that you can adapt to make your own:
- Host an outdoors movie night complete with complimentary snacks and sodas
- Host a cocktail hour inviting loyalty members only or use it as an opportunity to get guests who haven’t joined to sign up
- Prepare customized welcome bags for guests who reach certain milestones
- Make sure to celebrate birthdays with loyalty members who have shared that information
A little effort can go a long way and turn a happy guest into a loyal one. How will you make your hotel experience stand out?
Promote Your Perks and Hotel Loyalty Program Benefits on Social Media
Plan your content and social media calendars to post about upcoming offers, benefits, and other information about your rewards program. Remember to target rewards towards your property’s specific audience(s). For example, family-friendly hotels can highlight free kids’ meals, onsite events that are fun for the whole family, and other perks that benefit those with kids. While those who focus more on the business traveler should focus on expedited check-in and check-out, conference room availability, and guestroom amenities like free wi-fi, multiple plug-ins, and enough space to spread out to take conference calls and work remotely.
There are guests that may need a little reminder of the awesome benefits they receive through your loyalty program. Use this opportunity to provide updates on any new benefits. Have you added new perks to the program? Are you hosting a special seasonal event? This is an opportunity to re-engage your guests and also attract potential future guests. Go above and beyond by providing great perks and incentives, but be sure you stay on top of your guests changing habits and use social listening to address their needs.
Listen to Your Audience
Constantly monitor your hotel rewards program and check its effectiveness. Listen to your guests – and if you’re not receiving enough feedback to make decisions, ask for it. In today’s digital world, direct surveys aren’t the only way to receive information about the satisfaction of a guest’s stay. Closely monitor online review sites and social media channels to get an idea of what hotel rewards your guests gravitate most to and which they could do without. You might find that the perk you have been focused on for the past 6 months is not actually driving interest from your guests, or that the small change from checkout at 11am to 12pm has made all the difference in your customers’ satisfaction.
For instance, in an article shared by HotelExecutive.com, the example reviews data regarding a hotel’s 24-hour room service offering. The hotel surveyed guests at two different times: when they offered room service 24 hours a day and when they offered room service during reduced hours. The data demonstrated that there was no change in satisfaction or loyalty based on the 24-hour availability. Their “assumption” about the value this provided cost them $80,000 a year, a perk they cut after reviewing the data.
The more you connect with your guests to learn about what they value most and understand their needs and want, the more likely you’ll secure a guest for life and can continue a positive relationship for years and trips to come. Pay attention to your guests’ activities and feedback, and utilize hotel rewards programs to enhance your hotel marketing and continually provide great experiences for guests. Your involvement in these activities will surely help you remain top of mind for your loyal guests.