Did you know that a hotel has to make extra efforts to get new guests than pleasing the existing ones? I have been asked many times by hoteliers about the role of customer loyalty in the hotel industry and why it is important. Growing volume and rapidly increasing competition make it tough for hotels to acquire new guests with old-fashioned services. In addition, hoteliers have to spend more time and money on applying marketing strategies to grab attention of new guests. Not only this, new customers spend less than a hotel’s loyal customers. So, it is not wrong to say that turning existing customers into loyal guests pays off better than spending time in pleasing others.
Customer loyalty can be defined as willingness of your guests to use your hotel’s services again and again. This is the results of good stay experience, impressive hospitality services and value of products.
As a hotelier, I believe a hotel should continuously look for new customers, but retaining the existing ones is also necessary. This combination allows you to win many guests and stay ahead in the competition. Building customer loyalty requires you to stay connected with your past guests and make efforts to encourage them to choose your hotel whenever they visit the place again. But how you can do it? The best way to make an impression on existing customers is starting customer loyalty program. Here’s how to do it:
Make Great First Impression
You must have heard several times that first impression is the last impression, which is quite true. A small or an independent hotel can be more successful than a chain if it knows how to start with a new guest. In addition to providing the finest hospitality services at affordable prices, you must learn the art of communicating with guests for the first time to turn them into your loyal customers. As check-in the first encounter of a guest with your hotel, make it simple and fast with advance technologies. Your hotel staff needs to take extra steps to make guests feel special and valuable. Take care of guests’ demands and preferences.
Prioritise Guest Experience
While designing strategies and loyalty programs, train your staff to give priority to guests and enhance their accommodation experience. This should be started well before the check-in process, when the guests make bookings online. This can be done by sending email or a welcome message. They can also be informed about your hotel’s speciality, local events and popular places in the neighbourhood to hangout.
Give Extra, Offer Incentive
Free Wi-Fi or complimentary breakfast is a thing of past. Almost every hotel offers such basic services to their guests without any extra charges. You should try beyond these traditional strategies to turn first timers into loyal guests. You can offer incentive on direct bookings, flexibility in check-in time or complimentary trip to popular attractions near your hotel.
Stay Tech Smart
Whether your guests are baby boomers or youngsters, technology can impress them all. Including quick accommodation bookings, self check-in, entry through cars and smart in-room amenities, there are several ways to engage guests through technology and offer them a memorable experience.
Exceed Guests’ Expectations
From my experience in hospitality industry, I assure you that you are winning your guests’ heart by exceeding their expectations. If your guest demands for a service that is not mentioned in your service list, try to fulfill it by going extra mile. There should be a constant contact with the guest until the matter is resolved.
Devise An Effective Loyalty Program
A recent study on guest loyalty suggests that one in five individuals become loyal guests of a hotel after benefits offered under customer loyalty programs. Try to understand the customers’ demand and plan a loyalty program that helps in making them permanent customers.
Staying in contact with guests even after check-out can increase the chances of guests’ repeat visit to your hotel. Ask them if they are satisfied with your hotel’s services or they want to see changes in it. Personal contact and giving/asking right questions can help you turn them into your loyal guests.