February 6, 2018 | Article | by REQ Marketing | Advertising
How Loyalty Programs Benefit Hotels
Rewards or loyalty programs are popular within the hospitality industry, and for good reason. Travelers are loyal to hotel brands they can trust, demonstrate consistent value, and customize an experience both while on property and in between stays. In fact, a Wunderman study showed 79% of consumers only consider brands that show they care and understand about their individual needs.
To achieve this, it requires several touchpoints from every member of the hospitality team. Each brand must identify what sets them apart from their competitors. A hotel rewards program is a way to say thank you to loyal guests, while also giving them an incentive to book their next trip.
Marriott Rewards claimed the top spot in 2017-2018 as the Best Hotel Rewards Program, according to U.S. News. Among the perks of this loyalty program include: linking accounts and transferring points to the Starwood Preferred Guest program, no blackout dates when redeeming free nights, rewards can be applied to hotel stays, as well as flights, rental cars, and other vacation packages.
Other Marriott loyalty program benefits include free Wi-Fi, discounted redemption rates, and additional loyalty perks without a membership fee. While providing value and incentive to hotel guests, it also creates a sense of loyalty for those who want to build their points and earn free accommodations. In short, it’s a popular initiative that contributes to guest retention.
Promoting Your Rewards Program
There are several ways you can spread the word about your rewards program to entice more guests to sign up. First is simply by word of mouth. When a guest checks in for a stay, ask if they are part of the loyalty program and give them information about its benefits. You can also leave information in the guestroom that outlines key highlights.
Second, create different messaging for different audiences through your online marketing campaigns. For example, for first-time guests, send a post-stay email thanking them for visiting and sharing the perks of signing up for your rewards program.
For members who have repeat visits but still have not signed up, reiterate the benefits of the rewards program, but also open the doors of communication for any areas where you can improve.
Lastly, show rather than tell about the value of your loyalty program via social media. Create an atmosphere of excitement and appreciation for your guest both online and offline. When you can make a guest feel taken care of and understood, they will eventually commit to your brand.
Bringing New Energy to Your Brand
If you don’t already have a loyalty program, now is a good time to start one. If you already have one in place, brainstorm ways to improve it. Survey current members to gauge what they do and don’t like about the rewards program. What’s included? How does it amplify the hotel experience for your guests?
Guest loyalty is beneficial all around. Of course, you want people who enjoy your hotel to return as often as possible, so why not give them an extra incentive to do so. The more consistently you communicate the benefits and your appreciation for their patronage, the more they will feel like you are creating an experience customized for them, which is the ultimate goal. When your guest feels valued, it’s easier for other things to fall into place.