Friday, May 16, 2014

Building Hotel Brand Loyalty - The Leisure Traveler

Leisure travelers are looking for an experience outside of their everyday lives while on vacation. They have a much different set of hotel expectations compared to the business traveler. Instilling hotel brand loyalty in the leisure traveler of today therefore centers on providing unique memories that are worth telling others about and which will leave guests wanting more. Gaining the loyalty of leisure travelers for hotels can be accomplished both on and off the hotel property.


Off Hotel Property

High-end hotels can offer fabulous experience-rich packages that will be remembered for a lifetime. For example, a couple of nights hotel stay and meals combined with amazing sporting events tickets and a chance to meet the players. Destination tours built around the settings of novels or wine country tours of private vineyards are more examples of “insider” access available through luxury hotels now. The high-end hotel guest is looking for this kind of experience, one that can be exclusively theirs. The high expense and popularity of such packages proves the value of finding a unique experience for leisure travelers as the economy gains its footing again.

Off-property hotel experiences are not limited to higher priced hotels by any means. More modestly priced hotels are offering packages, including bicycle destination tours and kayaking or sailing, among others. The key is to provide a memorable experience for the leisure traveler that gets them active, brings them in touch with the destination and maybe even provides a sense of adventure for them.


On Hotel Property

For some hotels, the off-property strategy may not be the optimum approach for leveraging the hotel brand loyalty of their leisure travel guests. For those hotels, a different path to leisure traveler hotel loyalty can be found in the hotel property design, particularly in the guest’s rooms. Hotels can transform the guest experience by bringing in more touches that make guests feel at home. Bedding is the most important feature to hotel rooms for all guests and providing the best sleep comfort experience available can win the hearts of a hotel’s guests. Technology is increasingly being used in rooms to integrate entertainment, security, and lighting all controllable from a single remote. Large flat screen TV’s are now the expected norm, so electronics must match what the guest would find in their home.

There is a trend toward leisure travelers looking for larger rooms and suites. In keeping with those expectations is to increase the size of living and kitchenette spaces. Guest bathrooms are also expanding to include facility for inclusive spas and more lighting. Finding the true resort experience is what leisure travel is about now.

Leisure travelers today expect to be pampered and catered to as much by the hotel facility as the hotel staff, while simultaneously being truly brought in touch with the essence of their travel destination.

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