I loved going to McDonald’s when I was little. The thing I loved the most was their happy meal – no other place offered to give me a present along with food. At some point, my parents could not get me to eat anything other than burgers and fries.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Loyalty is a powerful tool in every business area.
But, let me tell you more about why you should pay more attention to customer loyalty.
First thing’s first, some studies show that depending on the industry, retaining existing customers may cost 5 to twenty-five times less than obtaining new ones. Also, a loyal hotel guest is more likely to book a stay directly through the hotel, which saves you the trouble of having to pay a commission to travel agencies.
People talk. Loyal guests are satisfied with the service and they’ll spread the word to their friends and family. This helps you grow on social media organically and establish a relationship with potential guests.
While digital marketing consulting firms offer professional services, nothing is better than a great review that speaks highly of the hotel.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the phrase “time is money”. Well, it’s true. Guests that book the same hotel on multiple occasions already know the hotel’s policy. That saves employees’ time since they don’t need to explain how things work. Instead, they get the chance to connect with those guests on a higher level or tell them about new services that the hotel offers.
Some selling techniques are closely related to customer loyalty. Therefore, cross-selling and up-selling work better on loyal guests because you’ve built a trusting relationship. Here's my top tips:
Personalize your loyalty program
Let me start with something basic. Pretty much every hotel offers some kind of benefit to their long-term customers. It might be a free room upgrade, free parking space, or no blackout dates. However, you shouldn't stop there.
It’s not that loyalty programs don’t work at all, some of the benefits are still there, but not all. I’ve already mentioned how loyal customers can act as brand ambassadors. Well, you can forget about that.
It’s not going to happen if they don’t truly love the experience of their stay. A loyalty program should be personalized. Not every guest wants or expects the same. You need to get to know your guests better if you want a loyalty program to work.
Remember – your guests want to feel unique and appreciated and it’s your job to make that happen. You can offer freebies, such as chocolate and similar sweets, a bottle of champagne to the newlyweds staying in your hotel, or a buy one massage, get one for free. The more you get to know your guest the easier it will be to know how to personalize their experience.
Use technology to your advantage
A good website is easy to navigate on both mobile phones and computers. Imagine a businessman going away on an unexpected trip. He’ll have to book the hotel at the last minute, and most likely he’ll use a mobile phone to do it. If the hotel’s website looks bad or is hard to navigate, he might give up.
You don’t like your time being wasted, do you? Well, neither does he. Invest in making the website responsive so that the customers can find the important information about the hotel and its services easily on all platforms.
The booking process should be user-friendly and simple. Use this opportunity to stand out by offering compassion to your customers. For instance, if the date they want is not available, instead of simply stating “unavailable” as a pop-up, offer your guests some other dates and say, “Sorry, all rooms for this date are already booked. Here are some suggestions”.
While booking is important, don’t forget to update your cancellation policy. Considering the ongoing pandemic, it’s hard to make plans. The same applies to traveling. That’s why it’s important to make your cancellation policy more flexible than before.
Be present on social media
Pretty much every serious company recognizes the importance of social media. Complete strangers can connect by simply clicking one button. Many platforms come into play: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Whichever you choose, make sure your hotel can be reached on social media.
When it comes to social media, the first step is to determine your target audience. Is it families or business people? Or couples going on a romantic getaway?
Social media can also help you track your ratings and reviews. Don’t ignore the bad reviews, it won’t do you any good. Show your customers that you care for their experience and let them know that there’s room for improvement when it comes to things they don’t like.
This leads me to my next point. Instagram is known for travel bloggers. They write about their experience on social media and their blogs. Use it to your advantage, since their reviews get a lot of attention.
Don’t forget that you can also hire an expert in social media marketing that can help your hotel live up to its potential.
Personalize your email campaigns
It’s not new or revolutionary to use email for promotion, many businesses do it. Some even overdo it. I hate when someone takes advantage of my subscription and sends me emails multiple times a day. That’s why you should segment your email list and send only relevant information instead of spamming your guests’ mailboxes.
A good email campaign can offer your customers exactly what they’re looking for if you pay attention to what they want. You can come up with a special offer that ensures your customer’s satisfaction.
Well, now you know how important it is to retain your guests and what you can do to make it happen. Do you want my advice? Create a new marketing plan that takes the customer’s loyalty into account and dazzles your guests by giving them exactly what they want – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Carl Fisher is a marketing coordinator and CRO specialist at Digital Silk. A passionate writer armed with a Bachelor's degree in English language and literature and extensive writing experience, he continues to explore, think through, and translate the world by creating high-quality content. He loves to write about the latest industry trends.
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