Understanding the importance of gaining and retaining customers can be the difference between success and failure for a hotel. With so much competition, it can be difficult to find space to breathe in the hospitality industry. However, one tool that hotels have increasingly started to take advantage of is loyalty programs for their customers. These act not only in rewarding existing customers for their loyalty, but also in attracting new customers who are incentivized to stay at the hotel due to the added benefits its offers.
Loyalty programs have a number of advantages as a marketing tool for hotels. One of the most important ones is improving guest satisfaction and appreciation towards the particular hotel. Customers like nothing better than to feel as though they are valued by the hotel they are staying at and that their reservation counts. Loyalty programs provide this feeling of appreciation by offering rewards for their decision to choose the hotel over and over again. This, in turn, leads to customers becoming more likely to share this good feeling through social media and word of mouth, meaning once the program is in place, the hotel can sit back and allow the word to spread without paying thousands for advertising.
Another benefit of implementing a loyalty program is that it provides important data on the hotel’s target audience. Understanding the purchasing behavior of guests is some of the most important sets of research data available to hotels, as it allows them to see clearly who is passing through each day and what incentivizes them to stay in one particular establishment. If, after implementing the program, there is little change to the hotel’s revenue, then this could be important in determining other marketing strategies and help to develop the hotel’s demographic profile.
Finally, loyalty programs assist in placing the hotel above competitors that haven’t implemented a similar scheme. This is especially useful for establishments that are near a number of similar hotels as a way of making them stand out without making any major changes to the hotel itself. Customers will always look for added benefits where they can, and a loyalty program can be a cheap and effective way of setting the hotel apart from non-participating hotels.
Original photo: http://www.ibchospitality.com
Hospitality technology companies, such as IBC, offer loyalty programs completely free of charge. Their loyalty program, Inndependent Inncentives, rewards customers for staying in independent hotels by allowing them to stay in any of their 20,000 member hotels completely free, with no missed revenue. This means that the hotel receives the full rate for the night, yet for their guest it is totally free, which can then lead to increased growth, increased guest satisfaction, and help in retaining customers, as well as in spreading the hotel’s brand through word of mouth. Companies like IBC also provide the hotel with all guest information, so that they can build on their business model and regain distribution. This act of goodwill will improve the overall outlook of a hotel’s customers, which will subsequently lead to a positive impact on the hotel.
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