While the impact of loyalty programs has long been assumed beneficial, a study published by Cornell University confirms it: After guests enrolled, they returned to a hotel nearly 50% more often, and hotels increased their incremental annual per guest revenue nearly twice over.
An emerging key component to a successful loyalty program strategy is the marriage with social media. Every day, consumers are checking in and snapping photos all while looking for the next best amenity.
Here are a few things every luxury hotelier should consider to multiply the efficacy of their efforts:
- Use your loyalty program as a social conversion activity.
Social has much greater impact when used beyond gathering likes and other vanity metrics. Social has the biggest impact when focused on driving conversion actions. Motivating socially activated consumers to join your loyalty program is an ideal conversion activity.
- Recognize and reward members for social engagement.
Foundational to most loyalty programs is the idea that the more a customer participates the more they receive. Additionally, luxury consumers have come to expect high-touch brand interaction. By recognizing and rewarding social participation of loyal customers, you can encourage positive word of mouth and make participants feel special — a feeling you want connected to your brand.
- Socialize your existing member list.
Socialize an email list by combining social intent with an offer — such as a room upgrade — sent over email to analyze which social channel your audience prefers and to move a private offer into social. This allows the brand to increase engagement and acquire new loyalists organically. Utilize your current database to advocate on your behalf in social — where everyone is looking to their network for validity. 4. Link your data.
Recognizing loyalty members for social participation also enables marketers to link guest activity across programs, connecting the dots between social handles, email and rewards accounts. This gives a more holistic view of guest activities and a truer sense of their brand value. Populating this data into your CRM also gives you a richer view of what motivates and delights those customers who spend the majority of their travel money with your brand.
Bringing together your social media marketing and loyalty program creates a virtuous cycle where you can learn more about guests, enabling you to further tailor offers and create even greater loyalty moving forward. Furthermore, as social media consumers see posts from your most influential audience — happy, loyal customers — they will be more likely to take action as well, from giving your brand a try all the way up to joining the program themselves.