A guest loyalty program is a reward system offered by hotels to their returning guests. A loyalty program may consists of free hotel merchandise, rewards, discounts, or even a complimentary stay. There is no set formula for the perfect reward program as it depends on the hotel and hotel’s guests, but here are few elements to try and include in your loyalty program scheme.
1. For Passive Travelers
Guests who only travel once in a blue moon do not intend to go through the collection of points using a tier system simply to claim the reward. They want it in a way where the points that they have collected can last for a longer period and not just a year or two.
What to offer:
- No expiration date on points accrued. Thus, passive traveller will be more incline to collect these points over time.
- Offer a reward immediately upon registration. Such reward can be of complimentary wifi, drinks, or airport shuttles.
2. For “Boutique Hotel” Lovers
Guests who often seek for “Boutique Hotels” are less inclined to participate in such program as the percentage of them returning to the same hotel is very low. Boutique hotel seekers look for the benefit they get before they sign up for the reward program and what makes you more interesting compared to other boutique hotels. Among the benefits that you can offer are promotional, discount or voucher for the use of the hotel facilities such as the spa or restaurant. Use your creativity by giving a special offer of a reward program which they will not find in other hotels.
What to offer:
- Offering gift of your branded hotel. For example, a toiletries bag can come in very handy for travellers so that each time they visit other hotels with your toiletries bag, it would remind them of your hotel.
- Offer special services for members of loyalty programs such as complimentary sightseeing tours and outings that can be booked at any time they like.
- Discount voucher for the spa, mini bar or restaurant is a simple but effective way to promote your guest loyalty program and it is the best way to get your “preferred guest” starts spending immediately and increase your hotel revPAR.
3. For Status Seekers
Travellers who are status seeker often comprise of business travellers. They seek for special services often to be acknowledged as status holders and most of them visit for business purposes such as having meetings, conferences and other work related project.
If your target demographic hotel are for travellers like this, design a reward program that fits their needs and set idea requirements to achieve a new tier.
What to offer:
- Free usage of the business centre for returning travellers.
- Airport pick-up and 24-hour check-in for business travellers.
- Complimentary room upgrades and services such as ironing services, shoe polishing, etc.
- Providing transportation to or collection from the relevant venue these guests are heading to.
4. For Direct Bookers
Truthfully, most of the new guests discover the hotel through online travel agency websites. However, for loyal guests, they are more likely to make a reservation directly from the hotel website once they’ve established an affinity with the brand. Thus, this is your chance to reward your returning guests by offering them discount or points when they book through your hotel website directly. When the guests have visited the hotel and sign up for the loyalty program, they will be more likely to book directly online from the hotel website. With this, hotels can consider opting out from listing on online travel agency website and start focusing on driving direct bookings from their official website.
What to offer:
- A clear and direct benefit for bookings generated from your official website be it in terms of discount, privilege of services, or complimentary stay.
- For returning members who book more than a specific time, upgrade their member status to enjoy more privileges and rewards when they book directly via the hotel website.
In a nutshell, with a rewarding loyalty program, independent hotels can attract and retain repeated business from all types of travellers across all generations. However, there is no perfect formula to design a customer loyalty program as mentioned earlier. If you have better ways, let us know in the comment below.