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Hotel Loyalty

How to Best Measure Hotel Guest Loyalty

For the past several years, the term ‘loyalty’ has risen to become a major industry buzzword in the hotel arena. As a result, many hoteliers have launched customized loyalty programs, and implemented new innovations to attract and retain guests.

This is especially timely because the competition from OTAs, other hotel brands and AirBNB has become increasingly more intensified. With this in mind, it begs the question: are hotel guests truly loyal and how do we measure it?

According to a recent McKinsey podcast about the ‘consumer decision journey,’ only three categories out of 30 are loyalty driven. While this may not be good news for hoteliers, the data provides an opportunity for hotel brands to develop the right programs to create loyalty.

The best way to do this is to ask the right questions to your guests. Many large brands rely on Net Promoter Scores (NPS) to gauge loyalty, which at first glance seems like a viable program to implement. However, NPS scores rely on asking “how likely would a guest recommend a hotel to a friend or family member.”

Although this seems like a powerful point of data, loyalty is much deeper that just recommending a product or a service. Instead, hoteliers should ask these two questions:

  1. What one thing delighted you about your stay at our property?
  2. Is there anything about your stay that could have been improved?

These two questions tackle both the positives and the negatives of a stay. This two-sides-of-the-coin approach will allow a hotelier to learn about what is working well, and what needs to be improved. From there, they can make the organizational changes required to address these issues, and enhance upon what is already working well.

The McKinsey podcast may offer sobering news for hotel brands about the state of consumer loyalty but by asking the right questions, tailoring day-to-day operations, and developing loyalty programs accordingly, it is possible to crack the code for delighting all guests in ways that they will always want to return.


Enhancing Loyalty By Plugging Guests Into The Local Scene

Facebook IQ recently issued a study that surveyed loyalty in 14,700 U.S. adults regarding loyalty in five verticals, including the hospitality arena. While the results were somewhat surprising, it also pointed out some common insights, which are often overlooked by hotel brands.

In terms of the surprising outcomes, Millennials stated that they are more likely than Baby Boomers to be loyal to one brand – though they are challenged when it comes to wanting to communicate with hotels with speed and innovation.

However, the most interesting result from the survey was that travelers across all demographics are looking for unique and authentic experiences during their vacations. As highlighted by Travel Tipper, hotels should meet this need by positioning themselves as invaluable resources to help guests plug into the local scene.

Thankfully, there are new guest recommendation applications that put a hotel’s local curated knowledge right at guests’ fingertips. This means offering completely customized recommendations for local restaurants, attractions, concerts and other events. These solutions also help to minimize the friction that often comes with traveling.

In addition, these types of mobile apps allow hoteliers to compile relevant guest data about on- and off-property preferences. Ultimately, this data will evolve to where it is possible to predict the travelers wants and needs before they arrive – providing even more control.

Loyalty often comes down to sharing the right actionable information. Whether it is a local recommendation or simply remembering a guest’s room preferences, there is much that can be done to help establish loyalty in ways that translate into enhanced revenue. The best first step is to be the sound informational resource that plugs any guest into the local scene.


OTA Shunning Loyalty Program a Missed Opportunity?

In today’s hospitality arena, one of the hottest buzzwords is “guest loyalty.” Many large hoteliers and OTAs are bringing this concept to life through multiple channels when it comes to their guest loyalty programs.

However, the largest OTA has decided to change tack by shunning its loyalty program.

According to this recent Skift article, the Booking.com unit of Priceline is now aiming to create a great user experience for site visitors and app users instead of paying them to be loyal. The strategy behind this decision is that it can be costly to compensate customers through loyalty programs when they could become repeat customers and be loyal anyway.

While this is an unconventional approach, does this present a missed opportunity for Booking.com?

For example, the OTA could have branded this in a way that would have appealed to millennials and, for lack of a better term, hipsters. The new way to brand this could have been the “Anti-Loyalty Program,” which offers an ironic twist and could actually enhance loyalty.

However, the most significant missed opportunity is that there is no demonstration of value or reciprocation to the consumers. Booking.com could have created a customized dashboard or a calculator for guests that show them the savings they are achieving without the use of an actual loyalty program.

With mobility continuing to gain momentum, Booking.com is basing this approach on the belief that once customers use its app, the company doesn’t necessarily have to reacquire these users again through advertising, loyalty programs or other incentives.

This strategy could certainly pay off. But there are many inherent risks that come with this effort (or lack of effort). Without any direct reciprocation to the guest, Booking.com may have to re-change its tack and launch a comprehensive loyalty program.