Nowadays hotels are coming up with new tools to increase the number of loyal customers. An old-fashioned way of achieving this business goal is offering customers an upgrade or discount. This way has a positive effect on the total revenue but are those ”price conscious customers” really loyal to your company? Another way of achieving this business objective is the introduction of loyalty programs. An example of the benefits of a loyalty program is to use your saved points to book personalized tickets for sport events, concerts and so forth. (Shields, 2016)
The current tourists values experiences more than material things. Another change in the current hotel industry is the individual approach of customers. The preferences of the diverse so called club members are being used to personalize the rooms of each club member. Examples of this personalisation are: in room coffee from Starbucks, high speed internet available in the room for especially business travellers, et cetera. To fulfil the personalized preferences it is important to keep an eye on the interests of your customers and save them in some kind of database. Creating customized loyalty programs is necessary in the near future to distinguish your hotel from your competitors. In this way you will deserve the commitment from your loyal customers because they expect the same commitment from you. (Hospitality Technology, 2016)
Another upcoming trend is the availability of your member card on your mobile device. Customers have so many member cards nowadays that they lost sight. A tool to help people to organize and optimally use their member- or loyal card is an App of your hotel brand. Information that is available within this App is for example the number of saved points, special discount offers and news facts. (Parsons, 2016)
Furthermore some companies with a Product Leadership value discipline like Apple are experimenting with the possibility to pay via the ”digital wallet”. (Beltman & Peelen, 2013) This kind of payment provides many trust issues, especially within the target market of people above the age of 65. The younger generation is however more used to making payments online so this generation is more open to pay via a ”digital wallet”. More and more payments will be fulfilled with a mobile device in the near future. (Parsons, 2016)
The next question is: what will be the next step after introducing a ‘’digital wallet’’ and personalized analytics? The answer is predictive analytics (Hospitality Technology, 2016). Instead of only looking at the booking history of the customer and assuming they will be return visitors, you have to look into the personal life of the customer. Predictive analytics means that companies keep track of the customers’ social media, purchases and locations they have been. This new obtained information helps hotels to create valuable experiences by offering their customers personal offers. This will make the loyal customer feel more committed to the hotel brand. To conclude, new forms of loyalty programs help hotels to give customers what they want without the customer asking for anything!
Beltman, R., & Peelen, E. (2013). Customer Relationship Management (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.
Hospitality Technology. (2016). 4 Trends Shaping Next-Gen Loyalty Programs. Retrieved from http://hospitalitytechnology.edgl.com/news/4-Trends-Shaping-Next-Gen-Loyalty-Programs104918
Parsons, M. (2016). Now tap the phone to claim your reward. Retrieved from https://raconteur.uberflip.com/i/708792-customer-experience-and-loyalty
Shields, E. (2016). 5 Loyalty Program Trends to Watch. U.S. News talked with industry experts to get the scoop on the ever-changing rewards landscape. Retrieved from http://travel.usnews.com/features/5-loyalty-program-trends-to-watch/