Thursday, 26 September 2013

Hotel Loyalty – is it heading in the right direction?

Attending the Hotel Analyst Distribution Event on 23 September, it was a chance to smooze with some of the biggest hotel channels, shake hands with the big bad boy OTAs, and gossip with service companies on the future of the industry.

Where are hotels going? What are they trying to achieve to make stays a better experience for guests? And their aim – ongoing increases in profit, using loyalty from their guests to spur this growth.

What you might notice when you look for hotels is that pricing will be the same…this is a way that hotels work to try to encourage you to book direct. Yet for many hoteliers, travelers find it much easier to book with the big intermediaries like Expedia and booking…as we know – its easier to search through a selection of hotels, then one hotel by one hotel.

Therefore hotels seek to keep customers coming back time and time again, and they are looking at the following criteria.

-       The modern traveler researches personally
-       Looking for a richer travel experience
-       Cross-brand programmes
-       Point systems
-       Cash-back
-       Easy and simple redemption
-       Emotional attachment to guest
-       What is the loyalty?
-       Brand relevance, relevance to the guest
-       Avoiding customer disappointment

But, do loyalty programmes add value ?!?

Do you sign up to a loyalty programme?

I use Air Miles, earn points on my Credit Card, I subscribe to Nectar (purely because I was forced to by my Gay/Electric company), use Boots card, and the Tesco card…but that’s the extent of my loyalty cards 1) I don’t want a full wallet 2) I want to spend what I have earned easily 3) I need to remember all the loyalty programmes I am in.