HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY ESTABLISH A FREQUENT STAY PROGRAM
Frequent stay programs offer hotels the opportunity to encourage repeat customers by providing them with rewards for their continual use of the business. Cornell University conducted a study on the economic impact of loyalty programs specific to independent hotels. They found that “the frequent guests became even more frequent after they joined the program, and the result was a 50-percent increase in revenue compared to those who did not join the program”. Following these steps will help insure the long-term growth and stability of your frequent stay program.
TYPES OF REWARDS
Not every customer is the same. Some may stay in pricier rooms while others will use the hotel more frequently. In order to maintain all customer demographics, different rewards levels need to be offered. Most hotels will offer a free night after a certain number of stays. Many PMS systems allow for the ability to give a free night. Skyware’s Property Management System (PMS) offers a free night after the third and seventh consecutive stays. If you don’t have such a system, one will be necessary for the ease of the program. A customer will feel more inclined to continue to use your hotel if the rewards seem more attainable. This will aid in the conversion of infrequent customers to repeat, brand loyalty customers.
PROMOTE THE PROGRAM
Employees are key in the aspect of promoting frequent stay programs. Employees must first recognize repeat customers. Repeat customers can be defined as those who stay for extended periods of time or those who stay multiple times throughout the year. The program should be discussed by:
- Asking the guest if they have stayed with the hotel before. If the answer is yes, the employee should then ask the guest if they are part of the frequent stay program.
- Discussing it on an individual basis with guests.
- Highlighting the benefits and different rewards levels available.
- Reinforcing those who are already a part of the program by thanking them for being a member both at check-in and check-out.
To encourage the implementation of the frequent stay program from the bottom up, employees should also be rewarded. Employee rewards can be accumulated based upon the number of guests an employee enrolls in the program. Recognizing employees for their efforts to promote the frequent stay program will greatly enhance the performance of the program.
SEND PROGRAM REMINDERS
Once the customers have joined the loyalty program, they must continue to be reminded of the program. Customer interest is best accomplished in the form of “surprise rewards”. Surprise rewards can be as cost-effective as a free candy bar with your next stay. Maintaining contact with the customers concerning their rewards is critical for engagement reinforcement. By maintaining interest and communicating, customers will want to continue their use of the program.
An analysis needs to be conducted regularly in order to determine whether or not the predetermined goals of the program are being accomplished. The program benefits must stay consistent with the original goals. Reviewing the performance of the program will also enable any necessary changes to be made. Measuring the success of the program will help insure its long-term growth.
In conclusion, implementing a frequent stay program at your hotel is relatively easy, has high payback, and results in higher occupancy.