Experts predict a big boom in travel post COVID-19 since people will try and make up for all the lost time and trips that had to be forgotten during the global pandemic.
Business travel is also predicted to pick up a great deal. As a result, the highly competitive hospitality industry will only become more competitive, and that's why it is essential to retain valuable customers in this competitive environment.
In this competitive environment, hotel loyalty programs are a great marketing tactic to encourage customer loyalty by rewarding returning guests with great hospitality perks.
How do you define good hotel loyalty programs?
You're the best judge of what your property needs, but here are some guidelines on how to best design your hotel loyalty program:
- The first step is defining the benefits that the guests are entitled to when they enrol for the program.
- The most common type of hotel loyalty programs is when the guests build up points during their stay and redeem them in different forms of rewards the next time they visit the property.
When you're defining hotel loyalty programs, keep in mind what sort of rewards you want to shower upon your guests when they become eligible for them.
- The best way to design rewards is to personalise them for your guests. Family travellers might love a room upgrade. In contrast, business travellers might prefer a free cappuccino at the cafe.
- Make sure your rewards program is diverse and can be redeemed at multiple chains of your hotels.
- Another way to make sure that your guests are loyal to your hotel is to give them exclusive offers by joining hands with partnering institutions, like airlines or tourist attractions nearby. This will make your guests feel special about getting exclusive perks.
- Another great rewards strategy is to provide exclusive rewards at the hotel that are not available to regular guests, like exclusive wine tasting classes or cooking classes with the top hotel chef.
- Complimentary perks like getting an early check-in or an extra one or two hours for the check-out can also entice guests to sign up for your hotel loyalty program.
- Rewards like complimentary breakfast or a free meal are also great perks.
- For corporate clients who have signed up, rewards can include discounts for mid-week corporate team building events or a discount at a team dinner in the hotel restaurant.
- Additional rewards strategies for event planners and groups can be based on the past hotel booking data to see the frequency and number of guests they bring in.
- Another important aspect of hotel loyalty programs is to keep in touch with your hotel guests. You can regularly use emails or newsletters and ask for feedback to maximise their participation in the hotel loyalty programs.
What are the advantages of having hotel loyalty programs?
Some of the advantages of hotel loyalty programs include:
- Your guests will have an improved experience staying at your hotel.
- The promise of instant perks and rewards might mean more guests who are loyalty program members will prefer your hotel over others, and also that more people will want to sign up for your hotel loyalty programs.
- Since more guests keep coming back, this will also translate into more revenue for your hotel.
- Including guests in your hotel loyalty programs means that you can build more consumer profiles with more information included. Knowing the preferences of these guests can give you valuable insights into what marketing tactics work in your hotel.
- Corporate customers who might keep frequenting different travel destinations are bound to keep returning to your properties if the hotel rewards system helps them get a good bulk discount.
But almost all hotel chains now offer hotel loyalty programs. With so many hotels to choose from, what is it that attracts guests?
Here are a few examples of hotel loyalty programs that wowed experts in 2020 and what set them apart.
- Wyndham Rewards
Wyndham hotels' hotel reward system doesn't just stop at rewarding its participating guests with perks from its partner airlines or car rental services; guests can also redeem points for online merchandise, gas or donate to a charitable organisation.
- Choice Privileges
Choice Hotel loyalty program rewards let guests earn points for stays in any of their 6300 properties worldwide and redeem them for free nights, airline miles, gift cards or online shopping.
- I Prefer Rewards
Members can enjoy a wide range of benefits like exclusive room rates, free wifi, room upgrades, priority check-in, late check-out, and points that can be redeemed for gift cards.
- Hilton Honors
Hilton Honors hotel loyalty program points can be earned and redeemed at any of the 4600 hotels around the world. In addition, members can enjoy exclusive privileges like digital check-in, free wifi and room upgrades according to the loyalty program tier.
- Marriott Bonvoy
Members of Marriotts' hotel loyalty program get the benefits of having free wifi, exclusive member rates, a chance to redeem points for drinks, meals and spa experiences at any of the 7000 Marriott hotels worldwide.
Hotel loyalty programs can go a long to help boost revenue and provide valuable insights into consumer behaviour. Still, you need to be tactful in executing a hotel rewards program strategy for achieving the best results.