Women going through registration process at hotel front desk
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto.com/portfolio/DCStudio

By Mo Chaar, Chief Commercial Officer, Givex

Despite economic uncertainty, 70 per cent of Canadians still plan to take a vacation this year, presenting an opportunity for hotels to capitalize on this travel demand, according to Allianz Global Assistance’s (Allianz) seventh-annual Vacation Confidence Study. The hospitality sector values authentic, personal relationships with guests that help to drive retention, loyalty and increased brand visibility. In an industry predicated on building guest experiences, hotels can benefit from implementing a robust loyalty program to enhance their overall profitability and foster a loyal guest community. 

Loyalty programs can yield direct benefits, ultimately incentivizing guests to choose one establishment over competitors. According to Givex’s 2023 Customer Survey, one in five Canadians is a member of at least five loyalty programs, and guests enrolled in loyalty programs often book more frequently and spend more during their stays. 

Below are three key strategies that hotels can utilize to maximize the benefits of loyalty programs in the coming year.

Cultivating guest experiences

Investing in programming and experiences that improve guest retention can assist hotels in establishing a competitive reputation, resulting in positive reviews and referrals. Loyalty programs allow for the collection of valuable guest data, including preferences, booking behaviours, and spending habits, all of which can be leveraged to create customized marketing campaigns and improve the overall guest experience. 

Experiential rewards offer guests unique experiences beyond traditional points and discounts. For instance, hosting a private cooking class, city tour, or wellness retreat can make guests feel valued, in turn boosting direct bookings and brand engagement. This enables hotels to not only increase spending and stay duration, but also strengthen emotional bonds with guests through their loyalty programs. In addition, collaborations with local businesses, such as restaurants or artists, can help create innovative guest experiences that mirror the hotel’s brand ethos. 

The benefits of personalization

Personalization is crucial for modern guests who desire tailored experiences. By moving beyond point accumulation, hotels can enhance their loyalty programs through personalized rewards and experiences like complimentary birthday stays, unique welcome packages, child-friendly amenities, or customized local offerings to align with guest interests. Effective use of guest data is essential for operators to craft these tailored offerings, drawing insights from previous stays, guest feedback, social media interactions, and booking preferences. By recognizing and acting on these guest preferences, operators can demonstrate a detail-oriented, guest-centric approach.

Tiered loyalty programs

A tiered loyalty program should feel attainable, foster a sense of exclusivity, and encourage guests to come back and spend more to unlock higher tiers. The initial tier should offer accessible benefits like free Wi-Fi or a welcome drink, while higher tiers can incentivize guests with room upgrades, lounge access, and priority services. These perks can motivate guests to aim for higher levels while also enhancing their engagement. It’s crucial for operators to balance rewards for short-term and long-term guests, ensuring both feel valued and appreciated while updating programs regularly to stay competitive and relevant.

A win for guests and the hotel

Guest loyalty is more important than ever before, and building a comprehensive hotel loyalty program will benefit both the guests and the hotel. By embracing experiential rewards, personalized offerings, and tiered loyalty structures, hotels can elevate guest satisfaction, boost brand visibility, and stay competitive in the dynamic hospitality sector.


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