Compelling travel rewards programs are a necessity

In any industry, customer loyalty is key to success. Enthusiastic repeat customers serve a critical role in a company’s operations, providing a steady flow of business as well as evangelizing for the brand. By offering the right loyalty rewards, any company can take its client base from dispassionate to fully engaged.

For hotels, earning customer loyalty is becoming increasingly important, especially with many Americans paying closer attention to their budgets. Traveling is a luxury for most families, with trips carefully planned to get the best value for each dollar spent. Hospitality businesses that offer targeted loyalty rewards to enhance a vacation’s overall affordability may rise to the top of guests’ consciousness.

Looking for the extraordinary
According to a recent survey by Kelton Group, hotel customers are particularly discerning when it comes to choosing where to spend their money. Of the more than 1,000 individuals polled, 91 percent said that they would cancel their membership to a loyalty program after just a single negative experience, and one in four consumers would also sign up for a competitor’s loyalty program as a result. Additionally, the study found that Americans are always looking for the best deal, with 60 percent of respondents who belonged to a hotel loyalty program using more than one.

Recent research by Deloitte asserted that 30 percent of hotel loyalty members are considered “at risk” of switching to another brand, with almost 50 percent admitting they spend most of their money on a non-preferred hotel. In the report, Adam Weissenberg, Deloitte’s vice chairman, noted that while these statistics may be worrying to many hoteliers, they actually show that these companies have ample opportunity to stand out and start wowing consumers. He stated that it’s time for hotels to go above and beyond in their loyalty efforts, using unique methods such as surprise and delight tactics, more personalized loyalty rewards offerings and “in-the-moment” benefits. The better an experience is tailored to each customer, the more likely that individual will remember the brand next time they want or need to travel.

Expanding rewards
Loyalty360 pointed to Wyndham Hotels and Resorts as one hospitality business updating its loyalty programs to better suit the needs of its cost-conscious guests. The new Guaranteed Rewards system addresses one issue that may turn some customers away from the idea of signing up, which is the idea that a person needs to spend a large amount of money to begin seeing any benefits. Since many Americans take vacations but can’t afford to stay at a hotel for 20 nights a year or more, Wyndham Rewards has expanded to make sure that even one visit earns guests enough points to redeem on a product or service. The hotel chain is now presenting such offerings as charitable donations for 50 points, travel merchandise for 300 points and music downloads for 340 points.

Implementing a travel rewards program that is highly customized and considerate of consumers’ needs and desires is sure to generate long-term loyalty, driving revenues, reputation, and other positive results.

Photo by susivinh