Hotel Marketing Ideas – For hotels and motels, having a thriving loyalty program could bring serious business right to their doorstep, even during slow seasons.
Hotel Loyalty Programs Among Hotel Marketing Ideas that Bring Guests in More Often
A thriving loyalty program could be one of the key hotel marketing ideas you need to implement to grow. Recent data tells the tale, with some loyalty marketing programs accounting for nearly 80 percent of online bookings. If your hotel rewards or loyalty program is ho-hum, it’s not likely to do the job of maximizing occupancy and getting recommendations and word of mouth marketing from guests. On the other hand, some hotels are seeing big returns from even small investments in loyalty rewards; for instance:
- TravelClick – loyalty program members account for almost 80% of all nights booked through a hotel’s website (hotelmarketing.com)
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts – more than 50% of its occupancy during the second quarter came from its Starwood Preferred Guest program (HotelNewsNow.com)
6 Hotel Marketing Ideas for Loyalty Programs that Engage
These are six types of hotel loyalty rewards that can help increase brand awareness, and cultivate enthusiastic brand advocates and brand ambassadors for your hotel or motel.
1. Sign EVERYBODY up! This:
- Opens up regular marketing communication for top of mind brand awareness
- Creates opportunities for two-way dialogue and gaining valuable feedback
- Enables social sharing and makes it easier for hotel loyalty members to make personal recommendations and share your emails and social updates with their own networks
- Makes it much more likely that travelers will go to your website to check out room availability (vs. booking flight plus hotel on a travel website or simply looking for lowest cost room available)
- Creates an implicit agreement or relationship
2. Go beyond the expected (and boring) “buy 9 get the 10th night free” punch card mentality.
“Programs used to be comprised of a simple points system, but as the number of programs grows, companies are finding they have to differentiate by offering personalized experiences or rewards,” (from “Loyalty Programs are Worth the Cost” on hotelnewsnow.com).
- Use surveys, polls and other feedback to find out what individual travelers value and personalize their rewards accordingly
- Don’t give away free rooms, give away free upgrades! Rewarding hotel loyalty members with automatic upgrades when better rooms are available makes a big impact without affecting your bottom line
3. Gain brand advocates by mixing convenience and luxury with loyalty; such as,
- VIP and exclusive “perks” make people feel special; people like to feel special!
- Low cost, high impact loyalty rewards might include throwing in the WiFi and movie channels or gifting hotel loyalty program members with free salon and spa services, massages, yoga or fitness instruction and other personal services that people really appreciate – but don’t always indulge in
- Free meals at your hotel’s restaurants or room service during their stay could save them a lot and cost your hotel very little, they also provide a valuable point of convenience for travelers
- Partnering with a local car rental or limo service to make free or upgraded transportation available as a redemption reward could provide travelers not only with a convenient reward but may also satisfy a desire for prestige or luxury
4. Partner up and gift grab bags to your hotel loyalty program members with items such as:
- Tickets to local concerts, plays and other cultural events
- Passes to local movie theaters, comedy clubs, bowling alleys or other entertainment venues
- Golf courses
- Fitness centers
- Independent boutiques and neighborhood stores
- Salons and spas
5. Surprise them with something after the sale.
Cap off a great guest experience at your hotel with a post-stay thank you (such as a gift card to shop online on amazon.com or delivery of branded hat, shirt, etc. or another personalized gift) along with an invitation to leave feedback via survey, your social media networks or leave an online review or rating.
6. Last but not least, don’t take hotel loyalty program members for granted!
Even if you are giving away freebies and upgrades, it’s a mistake to think that you don’t need to exceed hotel guest expectations throughout their experience as your customer. Generating word of mouth marketing, referrals and repeat business depends on gaining top of mind awareness and building a strong affinity for your hotel brand among travelers.
“The hotel loyalty program’s value is derived from the intrinsic value of the brand of which it is a part, Barnello said. If guests value the brand, they will also value the loyalty program as an extension of that.” — Michael Barnello, CEO LaSalle Hotel Properties, as quoted on hotelnewsnow.com
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