Loyalty and Guest Experience in the Digital Age

Loyalty in the digital age: does it exist? That’s been a big question for a number of years now, and several great articles have delved into it this week. Check out hetras’s historical perspective on loyalty for an industry leader’s take.

Meanwhile, Experience has put together an infographic on loyalty. It looks at what hotels need to understand about guest needs, and what makes them loyal. Finally, which digital trends can be used to capture loyalty? A big one is segmentation in data and marketing, Duetto points out. They’ve written a guide on how best to achieve that.

Check out all the guides below!

Does Loyalty Exist? Time to Rethink Loyalty

One of the earliest loyalty programs on record dates back to 1793. That’s 223 years ago. We’ve been doing this song and dance for a long, long time. The burning question is: is it still relevant? In this fast-paced, technologically-driven world where the best deals are a click away, does customer loyalty still exist or has the paradigm shifted?  For this three-part series, hetras had a chat to three industry leaders to get some answers.

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Understanding Guest Experience and Loyalty

Delivering great guest experience leads to loyalty. While rewards systems, points and discounts can help, they aren’t the natural way to build guest loyalty. That comes down to the guest experience.

Guest experience begins right after booking, and continues way after they’ve left the hotel.

We recently analysed over 100,000 hotel bookings to look at how guests travel, how they book, what they want and how that affects guest loyalty, the results were interesting.

With all that data, Experience put together an infographic.

Get the Infographic

Digital breeds disloyalty. Before it came along, Judy from New Jersey went to her local travel agent to book her yearly family holiday to Barbados. She knew the providers she trusted and face to face contact with her rep gave her piece of mind that she was making the right decision. Today, Judy’s glossy brochure is the web, where she can hunt around to find the ‘best’ deal. Hoteliers, airlines and home accommodation providers all battle for Judy’s attention, often having to unbundle their prices to win Judy over.

As well as price and choice, there are a number of other external factors that are changing the travel marketing industry. Only with a complete understanding of these factors through data can you ensure your travel marketing is on target.

Judy may have outgrown her local travel agent, but hopefully her new always-on lifestyle will lead smart brands to step into that role in a modern way, providing personalized offers, convenient booking tools and great experiences. As time goes on, perhaps digital could begin breeding loyalty for brands that are willing to adapt and continue putting their customers at the core of their marketing efforts.

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Revenue Strategy Pro Tip: Use As Many Segments As You Can Handle

We’re already aware that properly segmenting your hotel demand is the first step toward a successful property-wide Revenue Strategy. Now innovative revenue managers are pushing the envelope by diving deeper and segmenting their guests in finer detail.

For the most part, the more segments the better. That way, should you need to discover more about a trend or anomaly in your data, you can more quickly and easily pinpoint the issue.

Segmenting should not be an exercise you do once or on a one-off basis to investigate a data issue. Instead, it should be done at the outset and should provide a framework for all of your data analysis moving forward.

What segments to gate and how many segments you should have vary greatly from property to property. A five-star luxury hotel won’t have the same need to segment its opaque business, for example, as a roadside branded hotel that might care deeply about that channel.

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A Holistic View of Travelers’ Path to Purchase

Sojern, travel’s leading performance marketing engine, released From Search Engine to Booking Engine: Sojern’s 2017 Hotel Report on March 2nd. The project combines Google’s deep insight into hospitality and hotel search trends with Sojern’s unique data set of 350 million global traveler profiles, including billions of booking and search signals from data partnerships across the travel industry. The new research report offers a state-of-the-art view of the hotel consumer’s extremely complex path-to-purchase.

One key finding is that mobile is now the primary mode with an over 53% share of US search volume. Interestingly, some audience segments have moved faster to adopt mobile search than others, notably the economy and midscale segments. 73% of all searches for the economy hotel segment are now taking place on a mobile device. Compare that with 62% for midscale hotels, 53% for upscale and 45% for luxury hotels.

See Full Report

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