Rethinking Guest Loyalty in Hospitality’s “New Normal”

Alison Guillot

By: Jebi Mathew, SVP, Growth and Go-To-Market, Hospitality, Amadeus

Originally published on Hospitality Technology


Hoteliers have long been aware that loyalty programs are a crucial part of the holistic hotel experience. These programs can incentivize return bookings and help differentiate a hotel from the crowd. They’re also a great way to ensure that brands can continually engage with customers in-between trips and, ultimately, investing in these programs is the best route to building an end-to-end value proposition.

Re-engaging guests old and new

As travel rebuilds, it’s increasingly clear that hoteliers have used the last year as an opportunity to re-think and re-launch their loyalty strategies. Guests have also changed their travel habits and are increasingly looking for leisure trips, which means hoteliers have a unique chance to capitalize on their hunger to travel and seek out new destinations. From the guest’s perspective, they are freer than ever to choose where they stay and who they build their next set of points with.

With travelers now considering how to get the most out of their trips, from local experiences, to dining and well-being options, a strong loyalty program becomes more important than ever. Some hotels are expanding their ‘tiers’ at lower levels or with third party vendors, which enables guests to earn benefits at a faster rate and choose different ways in which points can be earned. This type of fresh thinking in relation to loyalty programs has become an essential pillar of any hotel’s strategy when considering how to re-engage and re-incentivize guests.

Creating dynamic marketing strategies

Aside from structural program changes that enable accelerated points-earning, there is also a greater emphasis on cross-property marketing, especially in leisure hotels. Take the example of a business hotel which prior to the pandemic might have had loyal guests returning week after week. Previously, this would have provided the perfect opportunity to market leisure resorts, with the potential to turn one stay into two bookings. Today, hoteliers are having to use cross property marketing to generate one booking.

Yet by using integrated booking platforms, hotels can leverage their existing data in order to send targeted and effective marketing to the right guests. They can also use their knowledge of that guest to offer defined incentives such as spa or dinner vouchers. There’s room for creativity here too, with many hotels upgrading their use of imagery or even testing receptiveness to humor within their communications.

This process has also been dynamic throughout the pandemic, with hotels responding to changes in regulations to offer alternatives informed by the guest’s location or preferences. By contrast, hotels that do not use a CRM have struggled to capitalize on targeted marketing opportunities.

All of this relates to the new discerning traveler. Hotels must make data driven decisions to personalize communications or incentivize guests in a creative way to increase their opportunity to win a customer over.


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To learn more about increasing guest loyalty or finding the perfect loyalty program click here, or visit our Rebuild Travel library for more hotel recovery insights and strategies.