They’ve arrived – a first-time guest at your brand. They picked your property, your brand, and that’s half the battle. The other half is getting them to come back. That’s why the experience at your property must be inviting and memorable while your loyalty program is strategic and satisfying.According to a 2016 JD Power Report, 83% of highly satisfied hotel loyalty program members say they “definitely will” recommend the brand – and many millennials will take to online reviews and social media to do so.
The easiest ways to keep members highly satisfied: Have a loyalty program that makes point accumulation and redemption easy, and allow them to earn/spend points at many locations or a single upscale property, according to the report.
“Programs with hotels offering multiple brands, partnerships and locations have a strong competitive advantage,” says Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. “However, once customers arrive at a location, their actual hotel experience plays an important role in the overall experience with their program. Loyalty/rewards program administrators need to keep this in mind while exploring opportunities to create innovative customer centric perks.”
Creating those innovative perks that are also brand-centric and increase guest engagement requires special attention and considerations. You don’t want those experience-enhancing guest touchpoints to turn the guestroom into a hotel retail shop, though integrating items in-room can be tastefully executed to create the desired experience. Additionally, branded items on an eCommerce site and/or printed catalog with branded items accessible to loyalty program members can create a positive experience since the majority of point redemptions are used for free/discounted stays, room upgrades, airline tickets, and other reward items, such as travel amenities and vacation-related items.
While sourcing items for the rewards items, find items (or choose an industry partner) that will meet your guests’ needs and expectations while reinforcing your brand.
Start the inspiration with these three ideas from our hospitality and rewards program experts:
1. EnrollmentAt enrollment, or if enrollment was completed online, then at check-in, offer a small takeaway. Suggestions include a travel-size notepad/pocket-size journal and pen, a portable charger for their travels, or an eye glasses/computer screen cleaning cloth. The item that works best for your program will depend on your brand, your guests, and your price point. (Our hospitality and brand specialists are happy to source on-trend items that fit your needs.)
2. On-propertyRecognize your rewards member when they come to your property. For example, a brand or property that emphasizes wellness and activities could offer a branded, reusable water bottle – increase the utility of the bottle during their stay by providing a map of the best walking/jogging routes near your property. And a destination property could offer an item that emphasizes location, such as a wine key, umbrella, beach towel, or shopping tote. Whatever the item is, it should both reinforce your brand and speak to your guests’ lifestyles and preferences.
3. Frequent travelersReward frequent travelers. Much like #2, recognize your members when they are at your property, though if he/she is a frequent traveler, you want to be sure gifts stay useful and don’t end up in a drawer full of your property’s pens and water bottles. Create a tiered program that has different items for the different levels of loyalty. Always leave your guest with a branded and personable thank-you notecard.
As always, your rewards program items should reinforce your brand, meet the needs of your guests, and be easily accessible for participating properties and brands. The end-to-end solutions at A S Hospitality can help create, source, manage inventory for, and provide an ordering platform for your rewards program needs. Contact us today to get started on your program.