Did you see the disturbing traveler survey results in theHotelExecutive.com article “The Evolution of Hotel Loyalty Programs: What Guests Expect in 2013”? It cited a study by Deloitte, which revealed that 30% of hotel loyalty program members are “at risk” of switching their preferred brand.
Also, although 50% of leisure travelers are members of a hotel loyalty program, they are not loyal to one brand. Sadly, most hotel loyalty programs have little or no impact on traveler purchasing decisions.
Why? Most hotel loyalty programs are not differentiated. Guest segmentation is unsophisticated. For example, a guest who stays 11 nights is treated the same way as someone who stays 49 nights because they are categorized under the same tier of loyalty. However, if a guest who stays 20 nights reserves a higher cost room than a similar guest, should you treat them differently?
Based on my 15 years of experience working with sales and marketing executives at leading hotels, resorts, and other hospitality organizations, I see a huge opportunity for those who want to increase market share. The key is to build a differentiated loyalty program, based on more refined and meaningful segments, which anticipate travelers’ personalized needs and allow you to deliver a consistent experience across all touchpoints.
So, what is holding sales and marketing back from creating more refined and meaningful segments for their loyalty programs? It’s not the applications that stand in their way. Most have implemented business intelligence, CRM systems, sales automation, service automation, and marketing automation.
The biggest obstacle is managing hospitality customer data. It’s distributed across the enterprise: locally at the hotels, in SaaS environments, or at the corporate data center. Take a look at this complexity:
- 1,000,000s of Guests
- 1,000s of Business Contacts
- 1,000s of Corporate Client Companies
- 1,000s of Meeting Planners
- 100s of Meeting Planning Companies
- 100s of Travel Agencies
- 1,000s of Travel Agents
- 100s of Brands
- 1,000s of Properties
- 1,000,000,000s of Interactions
- 1,000,000s of Transactions
This is an exponentially complex problem that can’t be managed in documents. Without a trusted, unified view into the amazingly complex network of hospitality customers, you can’t segment in a more refined and meaningful way.
Even though your valuable customer data is disconnected today, you can take steps to start connecting it to create a unified customer view. Others are already doing it. See Hyatt’s presentation at Informatica World for an example of how one innovative global hospitality organization mastered their hospitality customer data to power their sales and marketing vision. Hyatt implemented data integration, data quality, and master data management (MDM) solutions to gain a unified customer view.
With this approach, you can:
- Take disparate information for guests, corporate customers, and other customer types to create a trusted unified view of hospitality customers
- Manage business customer account hierarchies and household relationships so sales and marketing teams can visualize interactions between customers. For example, perhaps some of your top 100 business customers are also your top 100 leisure guests.
- Integrate this customer repository with transaction data like stays, reservations, events, food and beverage, customer service, web behavior, and social media to gain a trusted longitudinal view of the customer experience—from reservation through check-out.
- Create more refined and meaningful segments to gain key customer insights and better anticipate travelers’ personalized needs, and deliver a consistent experience across all touch points.
Are you interested in understanding more about this proven way to create a differentiated loyalty program and increase revenue and market share? If so, please leave a comment below and I will respond.
Larry Goldman is the president of AmberLeaf, a customer intelligence consultancy. With18 years of experience helping clients make strategic use of their information, Larry excels at helping sales and marketing teams implement best practices for marketing strategy, customer analytics, customer segmentation, data warehousing, and database marketing. He has delivered business-value focused solutions for Business Intelligence, CRM, Master Data Management (MDM), and Database Marketing.
In the past four years, Larry has focused on the hospitality industry. His industry expertise also includes Telecommunications (Wireless and Long Distance), High Technology, Broadcasting, Newspaper, On-Line Media Content providers, Cable, Telematics (In-Car Communications and Services), Education, Manufacturing, Retail (catalog, e-commerce, brick and mortar), Consumer Packaged Goods, and Financial Services (Insurance, Brokerage, Mortgage). Larry is an author and popular speaker on the topic of customer centricity and the use of analytics to improve business results.