“How would you enjoy a stay in our Presidential Suite?” a smiling concierge asked me at Gettysburg’s Wyndham, taking me by surprise. Those ten words were music to my ears. I mean, who doesn’t love a room upgrade, right? It’s like hitting the hospitality jackpot. But my upgrade wasn’t some random out-of-the-blue spot of good luck. Rather, it was the luxurious, 1,100-square-foot benefit of my being enrolled in the best hotel loyalty program out there.
Since then, Wyndham has become one of my chain hotels of choice when I’m stateside. And I’m not alone. In fact, the U.S. News & World Report rankings for 2016-2017, as published by Skift, names Wyndham as the brand with the best hotel loyalty program in the world, stealing the top spot from Marriott.
In this post, we’ll reveal what travellers love about a good hotel loyalty program like Wyndham’s. Then, we’ll present simple ways for you to implement a similar strategy, fostering a loyal clientele of your own while driving high-value repeat bookings.
Different guests want different rewards
Though the line is blurring between business and leisure travellers, each has different motivations for booking a hotel room. By offering unique perks tailored toward these segments individually, you’ll encourage a broader audience of guests to stay loyal to your brand.
So, what do business travellers want? When it comes to rewards, these guests flock to hotels awarding points that can be accumulated and applied to future stays. Think free nights, bonus points, and upgrades.
Tourists have different perks in mind when looking for the best hotel loyalty program. Leisure travellers seek instant gratification whenever possible: dining discounts, welcome gifts, experiential offers.
Let’s take Wyndham’s loyalty program as an example. The secret to their success lies in their mix of long- and short-term incentives, appealing to both business and leisure travellers alike with one good loyalty program.
Use a similar mix of perks to attract more guests and cultivate loyalty by offering them from the get-go. Here are some tips that can be applied to your hotel loyalty program, or simply to your guest experience for the same loyalty-boosting benefits:
- Provide VIP check-in: prep rooms and add reservation details quickly with a cloud-based property management system
- Clarify location: give clear driving, parking, and transit options online
- Top-up rooms: surpass the standards of comfort and quality with these must-have amenities
- Run promos: you can discount your guest’s first stay if they book directly
- Think long term: offer deals like three nights for the price of two
- Exceed expectations: go above and beyond to deliver a five-star experience
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Loyalty members crave exclusivity and unique experiences
Guests are flocking to Wyndham because the chain understands this, arguably better than any other major lodging provider. For example, Wyndham rolled out four intuitive membership tiers and made it clear what each member category provides. As the categories ascend, the rewards become increasingly luxurious and exclusive.
This short-tier system motivates members of all levels to stick with Wyndham Rewards because they know they can easily work through the levels for premium benefits.
For travellers in the top-tiers, the perks are status driven and promise unique experiences. Wyndham grants high-value guests select access to their elite vacation properties and luxury time-share condominiums.
By elevating the position of loyal customers—inviting them into your brand’s inner circle through exclusive benefits—your hotel can use Wyndham’s formula for building top-end brand loyalty.
Hotels big and small can take a page from Wyndham’s book by applying the following tips to their own hotel loyalty program strategies:
- Start small: offer several tiers from entry level to elite status
- Be clear: feature easy-to-understand loyalty levels, perks, and policies
- Advertise: make it well known that your hotel offers a loyalty program
- Set a goal: motivate guests to move through levels with promises of exclusivity
- Deliver: out-do competitors by ensuring guests see prime benefits earlier on
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Creating a good hotel loyalty program is easier than you think. No need for complex levels and convoluted point-redemption schemes, just dynamic short- and long-term rewards, a simple structure, and an emphasis on unique experiences and elite status for the most loyal guests.