There has been much talk and effort within the hospitality industry during the course of 2016 around fostering hotel brand loyalty among guests. As hoteliers head into 2017, customer loyalty is likely to only increase in significance to the industry as the new year progresses. Hotels are building brand loyalty in a number of ways, some of which have been in use for a long time, such as providing guests with exceptional service. Others, including customer personalization, are a bit more recent and unconventional. Even the time tested technique of a reward programs are being implemented with new innovations.
The effort to personalize the hotel guest experience has been mounting in recent years. Once reserved solely for luxury hotel guests, all hotels are discovering the benefits of customer personalization. Hotel guest personalization has become a powerful tool for hoteliers to build brand loyalty and garner increased direct bookings. Through such methods as dynamic content personalization, hotels can create individualized marketing messages based on past guest information and current interests.
The user’s past viewing history, both on the hotel website and elsewhere on the Internet, is tracked. This can include past online purchases and any reviews which may have been written by the user, combined with demographic and purchase information available from any past hotel stays. Even the geographic location of the user is taken into account. Taken together, this data can result in a truly customized website experience for users.
In another way, guest personalization is allowing hoteliers to utilize their customer data to create individualized room rates. This is called personalized loyalty pricing. The hotel tracks how frequently the guest stays and how much they spend while on-property and uses that information to arrive at a specific rate for each individual guest. Of course, the rates are within the agreed upon rate parity structure. However, the guest will see the consistently lower rates offered by the hotel’s brand website and be compelled to always book directly. This instills in hotel customers a feeling of being truly valued by the hotel brands they stay with, resulting in true loyalty.
Emerging technologies offer exciting possibilities for hoteliers to make their guests feel uniquely special. In part 2 of this series we’ll examine how mobile technology is transforming the guest experience and in turn winning the brand loyalty of hotel guests.
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