Globally, the hotel industry is booming. Achieving a market size of over US$570 billion in 2017, the industry is growing as the world does. In the face of this kind of expansion, how do established and emergent hoteliers keep up? The signs all point to one thing: brand loyalty.
Although it’s all well and good to attract one-time customers, once the night’s over, they’re gone. Extend the love affair by building a dedicated customer-base full of guests who will book into your hotel again and again. Having a reliable stream of customers means greater financial stability and a strengthened reputation for your hotel. Check out our top four tips for building brand loyalty, and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time.
Sharing the same values as customers
What will differentiate your hotel in today’s oversaturated market? The values upon which you run your establishment, that’s what. Today’s customers are increasingly aware of and concerned about moral and ethical issues. From inclusiveness and diversity to sustainable business and eco-friendliness, these are some of the issues you should keep in mind when advertising your hotel to prospective guests. Keeping these values at the forefront of your brand means you are more likely to increase brand loyalty. Guests expect the hotels they choose to stay at to champion the same values as them.
Your hotel branding should speak to the issues that rate highly amongst your target demographic. From your hotel branding to your website and the suppliers you use, all aspects of your brand should emphasize issues important to your customer base. If a prospective customer doesn’t see their values represented in your hotel’s website and social media platforms, they may be disinclined to book in. Likewise, if you’re hosting guests from around the world, you need to have a restaurant menu that caters to different diets. As a rule of thumb, you should make it a priority to work with local businesses or manufacturers. Community-oriented hotels are by far the most popular.
Creating a memorable guest experience
You’d be surprised how many hoteliers forget that brand loyalty follows on the heels of excellent service. Provide a memorable guest experience, and you’ll have secured your best shot at turning a one-time customer into a returning guest.
The moment your guest arrives at your hotel, they’re observing your hotel and atmosphere. From the cleanliness of the foyer to the conduct of the check-in staff, first impressions matter. Follow up a stellar check-in experience with attentive service throughout your guests’ stay. Where possible, have systems in place to anticipate their needs, so that they don’t even need to ask one of the employees. This could include prompt housekeeping and supplying high-quality treats and pamper products. Additionally, you can offer laundry service and transport to or from the nearest airport.
Listening to customers
The most successful hoteliers actively invite feedback from guests. They do their utmost to apply any constructive feedback to future service. So, how do you go about collecting this feedback? From emails to mobile apps and online surveys, technology has changed the way hotels receive feedback from their guests. Regardless of the way it is advertised to customers, customer surveys remain the most effective way to gather and record past guests’ views. If you’re sending surveys through emails, just make sure that it doesn’t get lost in the spam folder. Making an effort to personalize emails containing the survey link will significantly increase the chances of the customer filling it out.
With some demographics, you might have more success if you give customers the option of filling out a paper survey when they check out. No matter whether you go digital or old-school, an incentive or two will go a long way toward the success of your surveys. You’d be surprised at how much more eager customers are to complete a survey if they’re offered a sweet treat or credit towards a meal as a reward.
Personalizing offers, services, and incentives
One-size-fits-all service just doesn’t do the trick anymore. The best hotels make every customer feel special by personalizing offers, services, and incentives. Customer loyalty programs are one of the most effective ways to personalize service. Loyalty programs make collecting and storing information about a particular guest’s preferences that much easier. You can keep track of what each guest would like to receive the most. For some customers, a free breakfast will be much more welcome than a discounted facial.
There are no shortcuts to brand loyalty. The bottom line is that you need to give your guests reasons to continually choose or refer individuals to your hotel over your competitors. This kind of brand loyalty results in a sustainable business, which is now more popular than ever. As an added bonus, it also grows your brand awareness and allows the expansion of your customer base. So go forth, and take care of your customers – because they’ll show the same loyalty right back to you.
Maia Fletcher is a Gisborne-based freelance writer who has written articles for numerous sites and businesses including Working In NZ. As a freelancer, she’s able to enjoy two of her greatest passions in life – traveling and sharing her adventures through her blog.