Navigating New Expectations to Deliver an Exceptional Experience
By Mark Johnson President, Loyalty 360 - The Loyalty Marketer's Association | November 2014
Loyalty marketing is experiencing a renaissance, a major transformation unlike anything seen before. The discussion has been elevated, and loyalty is no longer synonymous with just punch cards and points – now, the whole customer experience is what is driving that long-term relationship, and marketers need to navigate technology, data, and trends to optimally connect with their customers.
In the hospitality industry in particular, many hotels are looking to redo or revamp their loyalty programs to expand beyond the typical points-based offerings in order to keep up with customer expectations. Traditional hotel loyalty programs, especially some of the legacy ones, are points dominated and based on how much a customer spends, with the goal of getting to a certain tier to earn various rewards.
Today's Loyalty Landscape
Now, with the advent of data-driven marketing, and the plethora of channels available to reach customers, loyalty programs need to be tailored just right, driven by an omnichannel experience that values interactions and not just dollars spent or nights stayed. Tiers are still leveraged, but the focus has shifted to creating a dialogue, and what technologies should be implemented to get the messages across. All of these layers and approaches combined may make loyalty seem complex, but the key is to keep the engagement simple, straightforward, and relevant.
According to recent research conducted by Loyalty360 in the 2014 Loyalty Landscape: State of the Industry report, marketers cited that the top three must-have attributes for loyalty programs are customer satisfaction with rewards value (34%), easy to earn and burn rewards (26%), and easy to understand programs (24%). Even with ever-changing customer expectations and technology innovations, the most important attribute of a loyalty program remains the value of the rewards and the ease and speed of how they can be earned and burned.
Marketers predict that mobile apps (20%) and mobile geolocation and targeting tools (16%) will become more mainstream in the next year.