It’s no secret that guest loyalty drives revenue at hotels. Dedicated customers bring with them a number of advantages, as they’re more likely to book direct and tend to contribute a higher ancillary spend. Most importantly, they become invaluable assets to your property as ambassadors for your hotel, leaving positive reviews and recommending your business to new guests.
However, guest loyalty differs between branded and independent properties. A guest carrying a hotel rewards card is often loyal to a family of brands, while those loyal to an independent hotel are dedicated to an individual property. That kind of loyalty can lead to exciting opportunities for independent owners and operators. What’s more, independent hotels frequently have more control over loyalty and guest reward options, translating to greater guest satisfaction and even higher loyalty rates.
Independent hotels should continue to build on this by considering what they can and want to offer loyal guests. There are a number of simple ways to make guests feel special during their visit that aren’t groundbreaking or at a high price point. How about a glass of wine at check-in? What about free bottles of water waiting in guestrooms? Because they’re not confined by larger brand standards, policies, or costs of point redemptions, independent hotels have some flexibility to fit loyalty costs within the confines of their budget.
Building guest loyalty can seem like a big undertaking, but there are some simple ways to begin implementing a strategy.
1. Give back to guests – There are two tactics hotels can use to drive loyalty—hard and soft. Hard items are those that you can touch and feel, such as a bottle of water waiting in a room, or a treat at check-in—a glass of wine or a cookie.