Let’s imagine a scenario. The end of the calendar year is approaching, and your vacation days are starting to burn a hole in your pocket, so to speak.
NB: This is an article from Laasie
It’s been ages since you took some time off, and you’ve been eyeing sunny destinations at every opportunity, ready to whisk your family off for a long-overdue break from reality. After browsing resorts along an especially picturesque strip in the Bahamas, you narrow it down to two contenders – both of them offer similar style rooms and upscale amenities and boast glowing guest reviews.
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Even the price points are similar; however, as your mouse hovers over the booking page, you notice that the second option (despite being slightly higher in cost per night) offers an instant, high-value reward upon booking. On the contrary, the first hotel just offers ‘loyalty points’ which, if you’ve learned anything in the past, never amounts to much. Which hotel would you select?
This scenario illustrates the difference between a traditional, points-based loyalty system and a rewards-based, instant gratification model. You may not know it yet, but the latter is poised to become the new standard of loyalty across the hospitality industry. Why? Because, quite simply, it works.
Like any marketing approach, traditional hotel loyalty systems must grow and evolve – or face extinction. Despite this, many hospitality professionals still cling to these legacy programs, frequently wiping away the proverbial cobwebs to argue their place in the modern consumer landscape. Unfortunately, points-based loyalty fails to delight and effectively reward guests, but it often fails to offer any tangible value to a hotel’s bottom line. From notoriously hard-to-redeem point schemes to lackluster reward tiers and expiration dates, traditional loyalty programs have settled into the background long since abandoning any real attempts at moving the needle for hotels or guests alike, especially in the post-pandemic world. The writing is on the wall – legacy loyalty is out, and instant gratification is in.
The Powerful Psychology of Instant Gratification
If you want to understand the power of instant gratification across the consumer landscape, look no further than Amazon. Amazon maintains its position at the top of the consumer food chain not necessarily due to the superiority of products but because it offers customers immediate gratification and unparalleled convenience. Almost anything they could want or need can be delivered directly to their doorstep in 1-2 days or, in some cases, within the same day. In his 2020 comedy special, Ronny Chieng speaks to this ‘phenomenon’ when he jokes that “the airspace above America is just Amazon prime!”.
Of course, the power of immediacy, especially while making a purchase (whether an item or a vacation), is easy to understand from a psychological perspective – it’s tangible and an instant hit of dopamine in a world primarily fueled by the desire for convenience. Lisa Gevelber, VP of Marketing for the Americas at Google, explained this by saying, “Impatience, immediate action, instant gratification, even some impulsiveness — these are just a handful of descriptors for behavior today. We have all been empowered and emboldened by information. With our phones acting as supercomputers in our pockets, we can find, learn, do, and buy whenever the need arises — or the whim strikes.” And it’s not just a need for immediacy. It’s also a need for personalization. To this effect, Salesforce reports that at least 45% of consumers will switch brands if a company doesn’t actively anticipate their needs. Not only that but their Shopper First research surveying 6000+ consumers and 1.4 billion e-commerce visits revealed that consumers increasingly reward brands that give the shopping relationship meaning beyond the transaction. In the world of hospitality, reimagined loyalty programs present the perfect opportunity to tap into a culture of instant gratification and personalization in a way that is meaningful to guests and hotels alike.
All Signs Point to Reward-Based Loyalty
In 2020, Mastercard reported that most US adults (90%) belong to at least one loyalty program, and 53% are in three or more – and yet many brands struggle to find ways to engage customers. In 2019, Mintel reported that, although 90% of US adults belong to at least one loyalty program, more than half of loyalty memberships are inactive. Often, this lack of engagement and satisfaction can be attributed to the simple fact that loyalty programs don’t offer incentives guests actually care about, or, if they do, those incentives are locked behind a tier that will take thousands of points to reach. The worst part? The points might expire before a guest even has a chance to use them.
As such, not only are point-based loyalty systems barely having an impact on the decision-making process of prospective travelers, but in some cases, they are even a source of contention between a guest and a hotel when expectations are not met. As you might imagine, this is hardly a winning formula for earning long-term guest loyalty.
On the contrary, AI-driven, reward-based loyalty offers guests instantaneous gratification at the point of purchase – no points needed. With this in mind, Laasie has created a new loyalty segment; hotels can finally motivate guest loyalty with personalized, instantly selectable rewards that genuinely excite guests while helping hotels increase net revenue and drive engagement. Leveraging a network of over 1,000 rewards partners across shopping, dining, and activities, Laasie empowers hotels to convert guest bookings while building dynamic relationships that inspire on-property spend, loyalty and positive reviews.
Much like Amazon, Laasie delivers exactly what a traveler wants – instantly. In an increasingly uncertain world, instant rewards and recognition are increasingly powerful tools. The world has changed, and guests want instant gratification and recognition with every brand interaction. Why not incentivize and reward guests in a way that actually delights them while driving revenue and long-term loyalty for your hotel?
The good news is you can – and you should. The even better news? It’s easier than you could ever imagine.