Win the Connected Traveler with Connected Loyalty Strategies
By Allison Ferguson Senior Strategist, Merkle Inc. | March 19, 2017
“Travel in the young is part of education, in the elder a part of experience.” Francis Bacon made this observation in the 17th century, and it resonates now. Travel today is a highly aspirational, emotional, and educational experience. However, today’s experience is largely a digital one, which is evolving our roles as hoteliers and marketers at the very pace of innovation. We must constantly use people-based marketing to re-imagine how we connect with travelers and inspire them to connect in return.
There is much in play to win the hearts, minds, and spend of the digital or so called “connected” traveler, who controls an estimated $180B global stay spend on hotels, vacation rentals, and packages (Statista Market Outlook, 2016)). Hotel companies, via their loyalty programs, have the opportunity to become the hub for the self-service, end-to-end experience of the connected traveler.
Here is a look at connected loyalty strategies that will make the difference for today’s hotel brands, large or small.
Loyalty is Connected to the Digital Experience and the End-to-End Journey
Connected Loyalty means that the loyalty program is intimately tied to digital and to the end to end experience. Skift recently held a discussion with eight hotel executives on the future of their loyalty programs and observed that, “[Loyalty is] a unifying strategy that, for many, is absolutely crucial to the short- and long-term success of their businesses.” (“8 Hotel Executives Say Where Hotel Loyalty is Headed Next,” February 6, 2017) Surely, loyalty has evolved into an enterprise strategy and complex marketing science that intersects with both the digital and the end-to-end travel journey.
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