If we add to this a globalized context where the tourist offer multiplies and the struggle to get the client intensifies, it is not surprising that we find ourselves face to face with the reinvention of loyalty programs.
Already in the decade of the eighties, in the United States, the first loyalty programs in the tourism sector were created by American Airlines with its frequent traveler program. Shortly after, some of the pioneer major American hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton, introduced loyalty programs for their guests, launching Marriott Rewards and Hilton Honors respectively.
Four decades later, and together with the technological transformation of the tourism industry, loyalty programs have been identified as one of the main trends for this 2019 that we have just released, and this was revealed in the last edition of Fitur.
In the event HDL’19 Madrid organized by Roiback that brought together more than 160 professionals from the hotel distribution industry in Madrid, the Managing Director of the technology company based in Palma, Rebeca González, announced that «no direct sales strategy put into practice by a hotel makes sense if it is not complemented by the loyalty of the client who spends the night in the accommodation.”
Clearly, the benefits of having a loyalty program are many for hotels and it is not only to round up a good direct sales strategy, but also to improve the user experience from the beginning of the relationship between the hotel and the consumer.
A loyalty program will allow the hotelier to establish a strategy that begins in the direct channel to strengthen the relationship with its customers in the long term. In simpler words, it is about rewarding customers for their preference to the hotel brand.
Loyalty is one of the main reasons for a hotel or chain to develop its direct channel, due to the greater knowledge and control of the final customer it provides, and its main objectives are:
- Improve the profitability of the hotel, attracting more profitable customers.
- Increase the proportion of direct channel reservations, based on the loyalty program.
- Reward loyal customers, with special prices or discounts and exclusive advantages for them.
- To know better the clients of the direct channel, increasing the information about who they are, what they are looking for and what they book.
THE FIGURES SUPPORT THE BENEFITS OF LOYALTY PROGRAMS
- Hotel benefits can be increased by up to 25%.
- A repetition rate of 5% can triple annual growth.
- Loyal customers spend on average 22.4% more than sporadic customers and have almost 30% longer stays.
- 50% say that the best brands are those that exceed your expectations throughout the «customer journey».
- Almost 75% recognize greater loyalty to those brands that offer a high level of customer service.
However, the reality is that there is currently a battle among the OTAs and large hotel chains in order to attract the customer, and medium size chains and independent hotels do not have loyalty programs or have programs that are not convincing. Why?
There are too many complex, rigid and unimaginative programs. Some only offer price promotions when it is also necessary to offer advantages or direct benefits and adapted to the needs of each client. It also costs too much to access incentives, establishing programs based on points that completely lose their meaning when we talk about chains that do not have hundreds of hotels.
EASIER THAN EVER WITH LOYALTY PRO
Loyalty Pro is a set of tools and functionalities aimed at rewarding the loyalty of your customers and improving your shopping experience, offering advantages and special incentives. It is characterized by being easily accessible (either through Facebook, Google or with a short form) and by offering relevant content, personalized, rewarding, achievable and that adds value.
The user is informed at all times of the exclusive advantages obtained by registering, not only discounts or special rates (very easy to configure) but also with welcome details, consumer vouchers at the hotel, early check-in or late check-out, or any other imaginative advantage that is valued by the hotel’s clients.
In addition, it has a direct connectivity to a CRM that will help you define and execute your communication strategy with advanced marketing automation tools, segmentation and campaign management.
In short, Loyalty Pro is designed so that users who have accessed the official website of the hotel return to choose the property in their next visits and to achieve the maximum impact on the direct sales.