Loyalty and reward programs can help make up the difference between having average occupancy rates or a fully booked calendar. In fact, according to Phocuswright April 2015 report, (Dis)Loyalty and the U.S. Leisure Traveler, “62% of frequent travelers used hotel loyalty programs.” So, if the majority of travelers are taking advantage of these, shouldn’t your hotel be on board to offer one as well?
According to Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration study, Assessing the Benefits of Reward Programs: A Recommended Approach and Case Study from the Lodging Industry, we also know that “the number of annual room-nights for each guest increased by nearly 50 percent,” and that “such frequent traffic resulted in noteworthy revenue gains per year—up 57 percent.”
Yet, small hoteliers often dismiss loyalty programs as tools of leverage for the already mass-marketed hotel chains. I’m here to dispel that rumor because there are many ways that independent properties can benefit; they just need to know where to start.
Here are four great ways small hotels can (and do) boost business with customizable hotel loyalty programs.
#1: Reward loyal guests with incentives and extras
When you offer high-valued incentives to guests, or provide tokens of appreciation for their business, you make them feel grateful and loyal to your hotel brand. Such rewards cost little to provide, and what’s more these help you develop lucrative repeat business.
Entice guests to stay at your property again in the future by sending them an email that not only expresses your gratitude for their business, but one that also includes an attractive incentive for their next visit. How does 3 nights for the price of 2 sound?
Examples of warm gestures to make your guests feel welcome at your property include treating them to a complimentary drink at your bar, leaving a nice bottle of wine in their room, or upgrading them at no extra cost.
Yet, this is just the beginning. Loyalty programs aren’t limited to business and leisure travelers alone.