How to Give a Second Life to Your Guest Loyalty Program
Guest loyalty program is one of the earliest marketing trick in hotel industry. It is originally used to attract customer to return to the hotel. This is surely important because returning guests are the key to any hotel business. This century-aged scheme was seen effective because the loyalty program itself contains pride for the holder. Some hotels are presenting the program as something fancy. And this is why this trick was originally a powerful one in marketing.
On its initial appearance, loyalty program comes in a member card for hotel’s customer. The member card will allow the guest to get additional benefits and encourage them to come again.
This then evolve to be a point-based member card for guests. The member card itself can have various point scheme. Some will give points based on the night staying. some other will give points based on the total transaction amount. However it is, guest loyalty program is the form of encouragement for the customer to keep returning to the hotel. These points can be redeemed into many kinds of benefits. That can be free breakfast, free spa service or even free room stay.
Why is it fail now?
The evolution of hotel industry is proven to be damaging to some hotel features that used to be worked just fine. One example is the slow death of guest loyalty program that we can see in so many modern hotels. The rise of online booking through OTA makes loyalty program becomes something that obsolete to hotel industry these days.
Even though it ‘s actually hard to tell a successful loyalty program, the returning customer rate can be one of the parameters you can use to measure its success.
The inability of guest loyalty program to keep up with modern hotel competition is the biggest reason why such scheme is no longer effective. There are at least 4 reasons why your guest loyalty program is an obsolete marketing scheme for modern market:
Customer need a very long time to get the benefit of being a loyal member
Using point-based system, it takes a pretty long time for your customer to finally gather sufficient amount of point that they can redeem. This is not a good marketing plan for today’s customer since people nowadays demand for something quick and instant. The long wait to gather these points one by one will only left your customer bored and eventually give up your guest loyalty program.
Read our article about ‘social media marketing’ here.
The benefit of being loyal is not rewarding enough for them
Even when you offer an easy scheme for your customer to achieve high points, when the reward is not rewarding enough then they will not attracted to your guest loyalty program. The point of being in a loyalty program is surely to get the benefit from it. And when the benefit is either too hard to get or not attractive enough, then it’s impossible for them to be attracted to your program.
For example, when a night stay will give your customer 1 point and the lowest reward require 100 points, then it looks very hard for them.
Such scheme is also applied in OTA
Now that almost all hotels are available in the OTA, the frequency of people to book via OTA is surely higher than the frequency of them to book directly to your website. This is a threatening problem to your guest loyalty program because some OTA’s are also offering the same loyalty program to attract customer to use them more. This could mean the end to your loyalty program if you can’t offer something different than theirs.
Read our article about ‘how to deal with OTA’ here.
The alternatives of hotels makes it hard to make them stick around
Hotels and new kinds of accommodations have been growing rapidly for the past ten years. This means that customers will have more options for accommodations and they will rarely stay at the same hotel when they visit the same destination. This could be the end for your loyalty program because getting returning guest seems impossible then.
How to make the use of your guest loyalty program in today’s business?
All of the facts above don’t mean that you have to erase guest loyalty program from your marketing plan. There’s still a chance for you to make the most of your loyalty program if only you know how. Making the scheme to be adaptable to the modern market and modern hotel competition is the key to still use this kind of program to boost your hotel revenue.
Make it easy
Modern customers want everything to be simple and easy. You should make your guest loyalty program become something that easy and accessible for them as well. It doesn’t always mean that you should give away abundant amount of points for your customers every time they stay, you just need to know the trick.
For example, you can make the point-based scheme to be calculated based on the bill amount and not the night staying.
This way, the more of the spending the more of the points that they will be rewarded. This will be a good idea to encourage your customer to spend more on your hotel while they stay there.
Other thing you should consider is the easiness to access the program itself. When your customer need so many fuss just to access it, their interest to join will be less and less. You can avoid this by linking the loyalty program into your website and make it possible for them to see the points. You can also try to make the signing process to be as simple as possible by adding social media button on your website. This way, they can simply register themselves by hitting the social button. Say goodbye to the frustrating form filling!
Read our article about ‘important features in booking engine’ here.
Make it remarkable and immediate
The key to make your guest loyalty program become more attractive to your customer is by making the reward become remarkable. You should also make the reward come instantly so that they don’t need to wait too long to get it. Those two things are mandatory if you want to sell your loyalty program to your modern customer.
For example, you can give a free airport transfer after check out when your customer reach specific amount of bill.
This will surely be an attractive promo scheme because they don’t need to wait too long to get the benefit. You can also consider to give free access to specific onsite facilities when your customer book more than one room. These schemes are surely better than giving cute pillow or funny umbrella, right?
See, giving the second life to your guest loyalty program is not that difficult. All you need to do is to adapt the program with the modern customer, so that it could still be sexy for them to join. When you get the key to make your guest loyalty program become something attractive, it’s easier for you then to boost your hotel revenue.