With uncertain demand due to safety concerns and a slowdown in the economy, apartments, hostels, hotels and campgrounds will face stiff competition to attract and retain guests. A thoughtful and creative approach to data-based loyalty programs will be vital to surviving the transition period.
Loyal guests are what everyone strives for.
The more loyal guest is, the less likely they are to choose competition, and loyalty programs are ideal for ensuring it.
Given the different motivations behind each individual and guest, ensuring that a loyalty program meets different needs is the foundation for success. An efficient loyalty program gives value to customers, encourages return on investment (ROI) and increases revenue.
Numbers should accompany any strategy. Take advantage of the guest list to help you create discounts and specific benefits of using the loyalty program.
For example, making reservations easier by adopting language guests use or offering additional services such as transfers. People who often travel tend to choose the same places, which would mean that they will particularly appreciate the loyalty program.
Loyalty programs are an attractive way to increase the number of regular guests. One study found that attracting a new guest is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining a guest.
Setting the best strategy for a loyalty program is not easy, but the following ideas and techniques can make this daunting task a little easier 💪
As each hotelier and vacation rental offers different services to different guests, loyalty programs will vary.
Try to set all conditions, restrictions and benefits as clearly as possible, defining deadlines and time frames. Only the sky is the limit when determining rewards – birthday discounts, extended stays, recommendations, activities and upgrades of selected accommodation, for example.
Find a balance between encouraging reservations during low periods and making your guests happy.
Hyper personalized experiences
Because every guest is different, each should be treated differently within the reward program.
A guest travelling on business could request a free shuttle or a free drink during business hours. On the other hand, the family could be happy with discounted amusement park tickets. Make sure your rewards reflect these differences.
Long-term prizes could be lowered prices throughout the year, free upgrades, quick check-ins or a complimentary bottle of wine. You may choose to offer free annual experiences, such as wine tastings or a discounted price for wellness packages.
Step by step
A multi-level approach divides your guests into categories, similar to airlines and their reward programs. Use the scoring system to determine the types of guests who use loyalty programs.
For example, the guests who stay with you most often could be your gold members, while those who book less frequently but for a more extended period each year could be your silver members.
One-for-all marketing approach 🛑
It is important to note that your reward program should not be a one-for-all type. When designing offers, keep your different guests in mind and make them adaptable to other goals.
Millennials, about whom we wrote here, for example, like promotions on social media, as well as applications for tracking their points and offers.
On the other hand, baby boomers may want to receive all the news via email. Ensure the information about the initiatives and rewards you offer is always available before, after and during your stay.
You can use technology to connect with guests, for example, by sending push notifications and other customized messages designed to make your guests think of you throughout the year.
Feedback is key to making effective decisions. Stay in touch with your loyalty program users (but not so much to unsubscribe from your newsletter list) and ask them for more information. Reward them with unique benefits for completing a short questionnaire, and be sure to ask what rewards they want 🏆
Don’t stop researching to keep your loyalty program compelling and relevant.
Experiences for reward
According to Mariott, guests crave self-improvement activities such as sports or cooking. Consequently, consider expanding rewards and incentives beyond scoring.
Can you involve your guests in a social or environmental campaign during their vacation? Can you offer free admission to an exclusive event? Can you provide a free sightseeing tour?
Different Is Better
The post-pandemic period will shape different approaches to guest interaction and how loyalty is achieved.
It is a success to know your guests, what they want and needs by listening to them carefully – especially if they are guests who can be your ambassadors. Reward, loyalty, and similar benefit programs are ways to grow business and make reservations within these circumstances.