What Loyalty Programs are Successfully Impacting the Guest Experience?
By Jim Coyle Founder & President, Coyle Hospitality Group | October 16, 2011
Over the last 16 years, Coyle Hospitality has measured the quality of the guest experience through our market research and over 20,000 hotel mystery shopping reports. By analyzing what really happens when a guest goes through a typical stay, we are able to aggregate, quantify and even isolate the behaviors that hotels routinely complete (almost all answer the phone within three rings), and rarely complete (addressing the guest by name on that same phone call).
Hoteliers can then determine the usefulness of these behaviors on their guests and deploy strategies that will at a minimum distinguish themselves in the marketplace and foster guest loyalty. This article looks at what guest loyalty really means in the modern-day marketplace, and addresses the most powerful way to build trust, the most important emotional component of loyalty.
With Guests This Loyal...
A friend of mine, Steve, is a true Road Warrior, spending 10-15 nights a month in hotels mainly in the Midwest and West Coast. Steve loves hotels. A few years back he told me about a really nice hotel he stayed at in San Francisco. He raved about the decor, the food and said that hotel employees just 'had it'; that combination of energy and care that provided an experience that, well, 'wowed' him.
Imagine my surprise when I learned recently that despite dozens of trips back to San Francisco, Steve has never returned to that hotel, but instead stays with a chain that I have never once heard him rave about. I first chided him for being a hypocrite and then asked why he raved about one hotel and stayed at another. His answer was as brief as it is telling: "I like my points."
The theory of guest loyalty is so beguiling, so intoxicating, that hotels in particular go into contortions when directing their ships towards the sweet siren song of guest loyalty. Books have been written, heroes made, theories minted, all virtually unassailable because who would challenge that guest loyalty isn't every thing and the only thing?