The loyalty programs of the largest hotel brands in the world, such as Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton, all share a common functionality: “book & join” or the ability to join the loyalty program while making the first reservation and without diverting to a different funnel where there is a greater chance that your guest will drop out.

NB: This is an article from mirai, one of our Expert Partners

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Increasing your customer database quickly is one of the most challenging parts for any marketer. After all, what’s the point of building customer loyalty and creating a program if you don’t have any registered customers?

Big differences in how you get customers to sign up during the booking process

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • Booking engines that divert customers to a different funnel where they sign up for your program before making a booking, including the cumbersome email validation process, convert only 20-40% of first-time bookers into members (a disappointing figure considering most special member rates have some kind of discount associated with them). Have you ever wondered why those 60% of customers don’t sign up and refuse that discount? Something is wrong there.
  • Booking engines that allow customers to sign up for your loyalty program at the time of booking (“book & join”) convert over 90% of first-time bookers into members. This not only triples the growth of your database, it also increases your conversion rate, as price competitiveness is the main driver of bookings.

If your hotel is in the first group, consider switching to the second group as soon as possible, as you’re losing prospective club members and, worse still, bookings. Just follow these four simple guidelines:

1. Display members’ rates to non-members

The first part of the plan to convince your customers is to show your membership rates to everyone, regardless of whether they have signed up or not, and to highlight benefits such as discounts, exclusive services, etc. In addition, you have to inform them that the rates displayed are exclusive to members, and explain what it means to become a member.

exclusive mirai members only rates
simple rates display mirai

Be very careful how you display your members’ rates, as it is easy to over-complicate the results page with dozens of different prices, either in different colors or crossed out. Avoid price “fairs”. Keep it simple, so as not to confuse your customers and reduce conversion.

2. Merge “book” and “join” actions into one step

Once a customer is willing to book at your club member rate, it’s up to you to make their life easier or harder. You expect a lot if you rely on your customers returning to your engine after having diverted them to a separate registration process and made them waste time filling out a lengthy form. You know the result, they’ll only make that effort between 20% and 40% of the time

One of the obstacles that is most injurious to your conversion rate is forcing your customers to validate their email address in order to continue. Avoid this at all costs. Combining the “book and join” processes allows your customers to make a booking and register at the same time. In any case, validation of the email address would be implicit, otherwise your customer would not receive the email confirmation.

Read the full article at mirai