smiling guests interacting with front desk reflecting importance of a returning guest

In the hospitality industry, there’s a pervasive myth that hotels enjoy a high rate of returning guests.

NB: This is an article from Demand Calendar

This belief has shaped numerous marketing strategies, with a significant focus on efforts like email newsletters, loyalty programs, and personalized follow-ups aimed at enticing past guests to revisit. However, this is often not aligned with reality.

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Contrary to popular belief, the percentage of guests who return to the same hotel is typically far below ten percent. The mega-chains boast that over 50 % of guests staying in the hotel belong to their loyalty program, but the reality is that most of these guests are first-time guests at that specific hotel. This discrepancy between perception and reality presents a crucial challenge for hoteliers and marketers in the industry.

By recognizing that most guests are experiencing a property for the first time, hotels can shift their marketing strategies more effectively. Instead of heavily focusing on re-attracting past guests, the emphasis should be on understanding and appealing to potential new guests. The crucial moment comes when a reservation is made.

This is an opportunity for hotels to personalize the guest experience, including upselling and offering additional services. The more a guest invests in their stay, the more likely they will be satisfied with their experience.

Why So Few Guests Return to the Same Hotel

The essence of this challenge lies in understanding the myriad reasons that discourage guests from repeating their stay. With an array of choices—from boutique inns to luxury resorts—guests are often enticed to explore new experiences In a world where novelty and variety are prized. Several key factors contribute to this trend, making securing loyal, returning guests challenging for a hotel.

Abundance of Options: Many choices extend far beyond many accommodations in today’s travel landscape. Modern travelers have diverse hotel options and an ever-expanding list of destinations to explore. The ease of access provided by online booking platforms and a wealth of information on new and exciting locations continually fuels the desire for novel experiences. This abundance of travel options means that even when guests have a satisfactory stay at a hotel, the allure of embarking on a journey to an entirely new destination often takes precedence over revisiting familiar places. In this environment of endless possibilities, the appeal of new experiences often outweighs the comfort of the known, making it challenging for hotels to secure repeat visits.

Unique Nature of Travel Experiences: Travel is often seen as an adventure, a way to explore the unknown. This mindset encourages a guest to seek out different experiences each time they travel, whether a new destination, a different type of accommodation, or unique local experiences. The desire for diverse experiences makes repeat visits to the same hotel less likely.

Read the full article at Demand Calendar