“True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Hospitality is the broad segment with sectors ranging from accommodation to tourism; restaurants to entertainment & recreation. Although the industry is segmented, there is significant overlap to enhance the overall customer experience. That said, accommodation still counts as one of the major segments of the hospitality domain.
It is the generation of millennials traveling more often than compared to GenX, Boomers & previous ones. Deloitte’s study says that more than 64% of millennials have at least one hotel mobile app on their smartphones. And this paves the way for hoteliers to make a progressive move toward loyalty apps as a significant part of their hotel loyalty programs. Since digital natives demand constant connectivity, and flexibility, seek affordable luxury, participate in sharing economy, and value authentic & personalized experiences, hospitality businesses need to consider these factors while designing their loyalty programs and engagement strategies.
This blog will focus on the hospitality sector & hotel loyalty trends adopted by them recently. Further, we will dive into prominent hotels’ effective engagement strategies to set up the best hotel loyalty program.
What is Hotel Loyalty? How did hotel loyalty trends change in 2022?
More than the reward system, the core for any hotel business is to know their customers better, engage with them & improvise their travel experience. Hoteliers often tweak their loyalty programs to retain frequent travelers and also attract new customers. Unlike leisure travelers, corporate guests often do not prefer experimenting but rather build long-time relationships at the places they visit often.
The traditional set of hotel loyalty programs offer rewards like discounts on subsequent bookings, suite upgrades, complimentary snacks or meals, reward points with expiry slots, etc. But the COVID-19 pandemic had a different plan for the industry. Frequent travel bans further dampened the spirit of hoteliers. That’s when they realized the need to revive their existing loyalty programs.
In today’s dynamic world, consumer preferences have changed immensely. People look for personalized experiences more than ever before. With changing hotel loyalty landscape in 2022, many hoteliers introduced novel trends like no-expiry reward points, fully refundable cancellations, and multiple lower-tier groups to induce loyalty among existing members. In order to add more value to their customers, hotels also raised non-stay loyalty rewards to support the hospitality ecosystem. Non-hotel alliances like airlines, cab rides, hotels & restaurants, and shopping malls help them connect better with their audiences. Offering hyper-personalized rewards based on customer brand interaction patterns brings greater engagement. A recent example of building experiential loyalty was helmed by Airbnb as they introduced rewards like cooking and other hobby classes that help travelers tick more things from their bucket list at ease when arriving at a destination.
Now, let’s take a look at the top loyalty programs & their promising customer engagement strategies.
Top 5 Hotel Loyalty Programs Ruling The World
1. Marriott Bonvoy
Home to renowned social media trends internationally & millennial corporate travelers, Marriott comes with a multi-category tier upgrade offering limitless membership privileges. With six-tier membership levels starting from– member, silver elite, gold elite, platinum elite, titanium elite, and ambassador elite; Marriott lets every guest reserve their space in their loyalty arena. Marriott Bonvoy takes the hospitality experience of its guests to the next level with end-to-end services. It allows room upgrades to suites in contrast to conservative room upgrades by some of the other hotel group loyalty programs. You can sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy program by checking in at any of Marriott’s properties in Africa, APAC, America, Australia, Europe, & Middle east. There is no fee charged at the time of signup. The elite guests can acclaim the ambassador’s services & unlock milestone awards later.
In addition to the hotel stays, Marriott’s guests can earn points through tours & activities, partnered credit card spending & traveling with Marriott’s partners. Besides, its elite guests have perks to redeem reward points in flights & car rentals, hotel nights & leisure activities, as well as shopping & claiming gift cards.
2. World of Hyatt
As the name elaborates, “World of Hyatt” takes you to a unique and enticing world of its own, where you will get the rewards exclusively designed for you. Hyatt simplifies loyalty with three elite tiers that guests can unlock with qualifying activities every time they visit. Anyone can be a member of ‘World of Hyatt’ for free and frequent travelers even have the chance to be a ‘Lifetime Globalist’ when they earn one million base points over the course of membership. Being a partner of the plethora of brands – Hyatt stayers can get a free night for interacting with every five unique brands. Their travel alliances and expedition partners can make the customer journeys more comfortable.
Hyatt nurtures the well-being of its members with access to spa sessions, resorts, planning journeys & access to mediation from Headspace for free via the app. With their mobile app, Hyatt’s digital amenities come to guests’ fingertips like access digital key, streaming option for in-room TV. Customers can easily connect with the hotel staff at any time. With personalized offers & upgrade options readily available over push notifications, Hyatt caters its clients with the personalization of rewards offering an exquisite experience for all its guests.
3. Wyndham Rewards
Wyndham Group makes one of the best corporate hotel loyalty programs in Europe, especially with its benefits extending in 95 different countries to nearly 9000 hotels, out of which 333 hotels you’ll find in Europe alone. Wyndham offers four membership tiers: blue, gold, platinum, and Diamond. From adding the rollover nights that never expire to claiming suite upgrades, there is no end to the array of rewards offered by them. Starting from dedicated member services, late checkouts, & additional point earnings, guests can unlock plenty of rewards by signing up for Wyndham rewards over time.
Every guest at Wyndham rewards is eligible to get free award nights & non – expiry rollover nights with member-savvy benefits. The platinum & diamond members of their hotel loyalty program can opt for early check-ins, late checkouts, & car rentals/upgrades. The guests earn points for every dollar spent in booking in addition to their stay and activities. Moreover, members can opt for easy check-in & checkout, using the Wyndham Rewards app to plan their road trip, check stops, book stays, and keep their journeys well-planned on the go.
4. Radisson Rewards
Radisson with its nine brands & 1500 hotels is, strongly supporting sustainability. It promotes businesses to opt for carbon-neutral meetings- aiding reduce their carbon emissions and contribute to global carbon offsetting. The environmentally friendly approach of Radisson hotels makes Radisson Rewards more riveting. Anyone can be a part of the Radisson Rewards club & enjoy the never-ending benefits of spending more nights at Radisson. From facility of room upgrades to discounts on meals, partner redemption offers, rollover nights, and free breakfasts, there are many Radisson offers to its guests.
Your business means a lot to Radisson; hence the Radisson rewards for business. Business tycoons can get a venue to book business meetings, and conduct events, and training sessions. The reward program is accessible to travel agents, small and medium enterprises, as well as meeting and event planners in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and APAC regions. In addition to the existing world of rewards, Radisson launched its new loyalty program – Radisson Rewards Americas & Radisson Rewards for Business Americas & the Caribbean in June 2021. It unlocks special deals, flexible offers & inspiring destinations for hotel stays in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
5. IHG Rewards Club
IHG Hotel & Resorts has a diverse portfolio of brands with 5994 hotels & 884,484 rooms globally. They have four membership tiers viz Club, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, & Spire Elite. Members unlock these membership tiers and get exclusive discounts and dedicated customer services to earn points on staying in hotels. Since IHG is partnered with airlines & other premium brands, members can burn their miles here & earn rewards points to book their next flights. At IHG, elite members get exclusive hertz gold plus rewards, five-star upgrades, exclusive choices upon receiving status, complimentary room upgrades, rollover nights, guaranteed room availability & no blackout dates for reward nights. Extended checkout is one of the premium benefits that also works well for IHG stayers.
An agile approach to hotel loyalty programs
Hotel loyalty programs are designed to be fascinating to make anyone fall for them. However, with evolving travel patterns of both leisure & business travelers, hoteliers need to evolve their loyalty programs. Staycations are gaining more popularity with the novel work-from-anywhere trends. But, it’s not the case with everyone – some want to feel exquisite, get a taste of adventure, or prefer luxury. It’s the variety of the experiences & exposure for which people travel to places.
When each of your guests is different, they have preferences for distinct experiences. Deloitte’s Hotel Customer Loyalty survey shows the way around winning race for guest loyalty. It says “to turn your customers into enthusiastic, even passionate brand devotees, you need to understand the patterns in how different travelers view and use rewards. And you have to use that insight to craft a program that stands above the ordinary and the expected.” The better you understand your guests, the more personalized & instant service experience you can offer them. It would be best to stay connected with your guests even when not in hotels. With multiple touch-points, it is very much possible now to delight your guests with personalized experiences. Do you want to revive your existing hotel loyalty programs with advanced personalization features? Schedule a call to discuss further with our loyalty program experts.