Travelers are loyal to hotel brands because they like consistency and familiarity. This is why many hotels tie their customers more closely to their own brand with guest loyalty programs.
Many hotels invite their customers to enroll on the spot, often even before they make a booking.
Others forgo loyalty programs altogether, trying to recognize their most loyal guests on a case by case basis.
The following tips will help you to recognize loyal customers faster and to bind them closer to your own brand.
Join a loyality network
For smaller hotels, operating a loyalty program is often not worthwhile. In this case, consider joining a network like Voilà, Stash, Discovery, Wanup or The Guestbook or affiliate with soft brands such as Leading Hotels of the World or Preferred Hotels & Resorts. Alternatively your brand can join an airline frequent flyer program.
Track guest behaviour
Use a modern PMS, CRM and/or loyalty software to keep track of guest room nights, stays and total spend. Identify your most valuable guests and flag them for special treatment.
Involve your staff
Ensure that staff members understand the value of guest loyalty and are trained and empowered to recognize frequent guests, thank them for their loyalty and extend preferential treatment.
Offer special perks
Be creative about how you acknowledge loyalty. To ensure exclusivity, reserve the best benefits for your most frequent and valuable guests.
Typical, well-working perks are
• Preferred rates
• Priority check-in
• Early check-in/late check-out
• Free Wi-Fi
• Free breakfast or cocktail
• Welcome back note and amenity
• Access to the executive lounge
Reward milestone stays
Surprise and delight frequent guests with a thoughtful gift or service. For example, reward every fifth stay with an upgrade, amenity or personal note from the general manager.
No one knows your hotel better than your frequent guests. Ask for their input and advice when planning new services, amenities and policies.
Guests may love your brand, but that does not mean they want to hear from it all the time. Ensure that communications are meaningful, relevant and personalized.
In the end, what gets guests talking is the “wow factor.” Something remarkable and out of the ordinary. Make sure that they talk about your hotel even for weeks after their holiday.
Nothing turns people off faster than experiencing great service the first time, only to be disappointed the second time. Ensure that all staff comply with loyalty policies and procedures, recognize frequent guests and deliver a consistent experience.