Keep ‘Em Loyal
Travelers are usually eager to join loyalty programs, especially when they can reap benefits. Creating a guest loyalty program legitimizes your property and creates exclusivity around your brand. It’s human nature – we aspire to belong to clubs where we get benefits that are not available to the general public. Creating a loyalty program can be easy and just takes planning and communication. Here’s how to craft out your simple loyalty program:
Define your incentives – What are you willing to give them in return for their loyalty? Free cookies upon arrival? A bottle of champagne and chocolates or a room-type upgrade? Perhaps you want to offer (usually the case) a free nights stay after they accrue so many nights with you. Set your incentives and create program tiers.
Show them you know them – Keep notes on your guest’s preferences; what they like and don’t like during a stay. Do they enjoy facing east or west? Does someone have an allergy to nuts or down? Create a simple questionnaire for them to fill out at time of signup. Also, keep track of birthdays. Those are a big deal, especially if they’re coming in for said birthday. This way you can surprise them with an amenity with a handwritten note in their room upon arrival.
Track the loyalty – If your PMS does not have a loyalty program module, all you need is a spreadsheet or Google Sheet to keep track. You can keep track of number of nights accrued as well as keep the above mentioned guest-preference notes on your guests. Every week or two, depending on how many are in the loyalty program, review your past guest’s stays and notate the ones that have stayed with you or recently joined, then add them to your email distribution list.
Program communication – It does no good to have people in your loyalty program if they don’t remember it. So create communication pieces for them. If they recently joined, send a “welcome to XX loyalty program!” email with the incentives in it. Ask them to always identify they are a member when making future reservations. Perhaps send out a semi annual email that states their stay balance and invite them to come back with an extra incentive, then drive them to your website for booking.
The sooner you can craft out a guest loyalty program, the sooner you can get those past guests to come back repeatedly and enjoy the wonder that is your hotel.