By: Sophie Talbot
Remember that scene from the movie ‘Up in the Air’ * where George Clooney’s character is extolling the virtues and benefits of various loyalty programs, well… From traditional assigning points and awarding free nights to highly specialized ‘Guest Recognition’ schemes it seems that a lot of our hotel customers want to encourage customer loyalty.
Reading through the trade papers these days it seems that more and more hoteliers are finding the need to provide some sort of loyalty program for their customers. The trend is moving away from the traditional ‘points’ based schemes to more unique customer offerings or giving a key value proposition to the guest. Whether it is a session learning to surf in California (http://www.joyoflifeclub.com) or simply giving all members free Wi-Fi access, the principles of a hotel loyalty program remain the same. “Loyalty programs are structured marketing efforts that reward, and therefore encourage, loyal buying behavior — behavior which is potentially beneficial to the firm.” * In other words, they are there to encourage your customers to feel a stronger bond with your brand and therefore increase repeat business.
Last week Motti Tadmoor from our development team posted about our Opera Customer Information system (OCIS) and I’d like to share some of the key steps that remain constant when working with our customers whom are launching a loyalty program using our CIS (Customer Information System).
Designing your program – some things to bear in mind…
Membership Name – make them simple and catchy – keep your point calculation rules simple; customers shouldn’t need a math degree to figure out their expected points gain.
♦ Is it a loyalty or points based program?
♦ What are the benefits of the program and do they differ depending on the level? – examples are
→Free Internet (for all)
→Early Check-in (for mid level)
→Complementary beverage on night of arrival (highest level)
♦ What are the membership levels?
→How many points are needed to advance to the
→How do members advance to next level based on:
→Will members be downgraded if they don’t meet
♦ Will points expire?
♦ How will points be calculated?
→Based on Stay, Revenue, Nights, Enrollment Code
(how the guest enrolls)
→Will ‘Bonus’ points be offered?
♦ Will the member be able to redeem points for
→$ off voucher?
→Voucher for 3rd party experiences?
♦ Will the member be able to redeem points on-line or directly at the hotel – online is certainly the trend we see.
♦ How can the guest can enroll (web site, propertylevel)
Whatever your approach, It makes good business sense, particularly in these tough economic times to value your customer base as much as possible, make them feel wanted, recognized and rewarded - Even if they are all not as loyal or as fetching(personal opinion alert!) as the lovely Mr. Clooney.