The value of belonging to something special has not diminished in today’s consumer world. What is often times thought of as a past mentality of consumers, is in fact the exact opposite. This holds especially true in the hospitality industry. According to independent research, more than 77% of travelers belong to at least one hotel loyalty or rewards program. This is excellent news…on the hospitality side of things.
With loyalty programs sprouting left and right, comes the flood of consumer information associated with belonging: demographics, personal interests, favorite restaraunts, properties and stores, customer satisfaction surveys and more. Essentially, marketing departments are left with a goldmine of information to specifically target customers with…why wouldn’t you use it?
If a loyalty program is in your plan for 2013, keep in mind some of the key elements that keep a customer coming back for more:
1. No Blackout Dates – Let the customer choose when they want to use their rewards. Less pressure means a happier customer.
2. Easy to Use – Travelers have enough on their plate as it is. Don’t add to the headache with difficult terms and navigation. Make it simple and to the point. Give them what they signed up for, nothing more and nothing less.
3. Offer Variety – Not all customers have the same interests. Use this to your advantage by covering a variety of options in your rewards program: airline miles, car rentals, free night-stays, golf outings…the sky is the limit. Mold your rewards to your demographic, sit back, and watch your customer loyalty take off.
Maybe you’re familiar with the term “brand.” And if you’re like a lot of people, you’re saying: “I hear a lot about branding and building my brand. But I’m a small or mid-sized resort, hotel or rental property. I don’t have a brand.”
First things first: everyone who does business has a brand. A brand is the common impression that exists in the minds of every customer who has ever stayed with you, talked with you on the phone, seen you online or heard about you from someone else. And maintaining a good brand is much different in today’s online world than it used to be. More than ever, a good healthy brand is your key to long-term success.
This is actually good news. Part of the beauty of online media is that, unlike TV, radio, outdoor or print, your website can – and should – be involved at every step in a customer’s decision-making process. Here’s how you can be more aware of, and take care of, your online brand.
Periodically VFM Leonardo emails me with some great videos targeting hoteliers. And since our flagship is ResortsandLodges.com I am always checking these videos out! If you have a chance, watch this 12 minute video on brand awareness. It’s main focal point is that hoteliers need to create VALUABLE CONTENT to help distinguish them from other brands, especially in this hyper-competitive market.
Some key things to remember:
- The average property is viewed 800 times online before they get one booking
- Travel shoppers visit an average of 11 websites during their research
Also, take a look at my previous article “Is your website doing all it can to sell your business?” as this gets into more details on ensuring your website presents your brand in the best manner.
Check out the VFM Leonardo video – it gives great tips!