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Today, customers are more focused on creating good memories. Reasons such as increased awareness of environmental and sustainability issues, tougher economic times, and increased availability of information online are factors that come into play and seemingly won't disappear in the next year. The growing importance of experiences in the hotel industry also reflects a broader trend in customer loyalty. Customers are more inclined to be loyal to brands that offer them a holistic and positive experience, from booking to check-out. This establishes a long-term relationship based on trust, engagement, and the feeling of being valued as a customer.
Earlier this year, we published a related article discussing the transition from transactional to emotional loyalty. Here, we delved into how the focus on discounts, purchases, and purely economic aspects is now shifting to the importance of valuable experiences for customers, personalization, and customer recognition (read the article here).
A corresponding and growing trend is the focus on personalization and individual rewards. Through data-driven insights, companies can provide personal and special benefits based on individual customer preferences, positively influencing customer behavior. Customers feel that companies with in-depth knowledge of their needs and desires develop a sense of loyalty and belonging.
In today's digital age, customer expectations for the purchasing experience have changed dramatically. They not only want to acquire products and services but also expect it to happen quickly and seamlessly. Customers expect businesses to offer fast solutions to their needs, whether it's information search, product selection, or the actual purchase process. Many prefer online shopping, providing numerous opportunities to build loyalty, such as offering customers instant rewards. For example, customers highly appreciate bonus points upon enrollment and instant discounts they can redeem on their next purchase.
Today's customers often seek more than just financial benefits, but as mentioned earlier, also personal experiences and a sense of exclusivity. They want to feel that their loyalty is recognized in a more unique and tailored way, rather than through standardized rewards that do not reflect their individual preferences and needs. In addition to earning bonuses, benefits such as free parking or complimentary snacks and drinks will enhance the guest experience. Similarly, efficient email communication and the experience of a seamless online store will add value for the customer.
Through regular email communication, customers have the opportunity to stay updated on news, personalized offers, and important messages. It is crucial, therefore, to stay on top of customers' expectations, desires, and needs. These expectations change rapidly, and providing personalized and relevant messages through email is one of the significant factors contributing to creating engagement and sustaining customer interest. Automated and digital guest journeys, for example, are an excellent and highly effective way to keep customers engaged and loyal over longer periods.
Remember to give a little extra to your most loyal customers. If everyone receives the same 'exclusive' offer, much of the personalized touch in the customer relationship will disappear. It turns out that customers now desire a more exclusive connection to where they shop and stay. By establishing membership levels, you will gain better insight into your most loyal customers, and it's also a great way to reward them. Exclusive offers and other special benefits not only create satisfaction but also stimulate increased engagement and loyalty. This approach also provides your business with the opportunity to tailor marketing more precisely, with targeted communication based on the customer's level in the membership system.
Choosing the right services for booking processes is crucial for hotels striving for increased guest loyalty. The selection of the right integrations will also result in a seamless and hassle-free guest experience, while providing the opportunity to boost the share of direct bookings. Investing in choosing and optimizing these integrations will, therefore, not only enhance daily operations but also contribute to building and maintaining a positive guest experience over time.
Do you and your business need assistance and guidance on how to keep customers loyal in 2024? Contact us here.