Leading Loyalty Experts Reveal The Secrets to Keep Guests Coming Back
Now, more than ever, consumers wield their purchasing power in an intentionally selective manner. They expect brands to respond to the challenge with a more personalized, convenience-driven experience. To this effect, McKinsey reports that 35% of U.S. consumers have tried a new brand since the pandemic began, while 77% demonstrated new purchasing behaviors, including new channels, stores, and brands. The hospitality sector is seeing similar trends, with some hospitality brands claiming loyalty is dead. The truth is – loyalty, as we once knew it is dead, but reimagined loyalty programs are taking over.
To provide hoteliers with a clear picture of this new era of guest loyalty, I sat down with industry experts to derive their top insights for the hospitality loyalty segment in 2023 and beyond.
According to Jacqueline Nunley, Director, Industry Advisors - Travel and Hospitality at Salesforce, the pressure to make the guest journey seamless across all touch-points has never been more intense.
There are a number of well-known best practices to drive guest loyalty, but there is a fundamental difference between a tool to ‘do’ something and ‘how’ that tool is utilized to achieve a goal such as personalization, she explains.
The hospitality space is littered with point solutions. Brands that still use identifiers pre-baked into boilerplate templates for the sake of scale have already lost the game. Why? Because we are in the era of engagement, and point solutions are not the winning formula for this time. It’s important to recognize that personalization is not a tool; rather, personalization is how you 'engage with' your guests.
Shirley King is an accomplished leader in CX and loyalty, having spent over 20 years in the luxury and lifestyle hospitality sector. She is responsible for designing and executing best-in-class loyalty strategies, programs, and campaigns at Kimpton Hotels and IHG. King points to Web3 as the next big thing in the loyalty space. Specifically, she views it as the next big disruptor to the market, although it needs more time to become a widely embraced reality.
Web3 can be used to create reward engagement, brand community, co-creation, exclusivity through token-gated commerce, etc. However, the general public needs more time to prepare for it, and the FTX failure is not helping, she notes.
Leveraging NFTs as a virtual membership card whose ownership unlocks status and brand experiences, allows co-creating with your most loyal customers, and builds brand community which can be very powerful. Brands adopting Web3 that I'm watching are Nike, Starbucks, Disney, retail clothing brand Scotch & Soda, YSL, and L'Oreal.
CEO of Commercial Acceleration Ali Powell, the multi-award-winning hospitality, tourism, and leisure consultant and advisor, explains that the end-to-end guest journey needs to be seamless.
The focus should be on providing a user-friendly experience with best rate guarantees, exclusive packages, total guest stay booking options, and, perhaps most importantly, personalization wherever possible, shares Powell.
There are many moments throughout the end-to-end guest journey that operators can look to personalize the guest experience.
Interested in more valuable insights from leading experts? Click here to download the Laasie eBook, Rewarding Loyalty: What It Takes to Keep Guests Coming Back.
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