In this series we're looking at hotel loyalty programs. Our last post ran over some of the do's with loyalty programs, today we'll look at some of the don'ts, and in future posts we'll see elements of successful loyalty programs and how to build the right one for your property.
One common mistake to avoid is to assume that a loyalty program makes up for a multitude of sins elsewhere. If your rooms are outdated, why would someone want to be a loyal customer in the first place? Most guests are members of two or three hotel loyalty programs anyway.
Don't overcomplicate things. Tiers are great, but don't have seventeen of them. Complexity is not your friend. Loyalty programs are supposed to help simplify the accommodation choices for hotel guests, not confuse them. Have three, maybe four tiers, and clearly explain what moves a guest up to the next one.
Don't set all rewards way out in the distant future -- "After 25 bookings you get a free stay!" This writer frequently buys Subway sandwiches but doesn't use the loyalty card because the number of purchases necessary to earn a fairly modest reward is so high the hassle of getting the card validated for each purchase isn't worth it. Put in plenty of short-term rewards as well as the big ones.
Don't assume that once guests are in the loyalty program that it's always at the forefront of their minds. Regular but not frequent emails, three or four times a year, are good to gently remind guests "Hey, two more stays and you win," or "You've got a room upgrade waiting for you!"
And don't assume that guests are only interested in monetary rewards. We'll discuss this further in future posts when we look at successful programs and how to craft your own with creativity and originality, but there are many things you can do for guests to make them feel special and loyal that aren't simply financial.