Social Media Activates a Cycle of Customer Engagement, Loyalty and Spending
By Chris Teso Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Chirpify | February 19, 2017
Leading hoteliers like Marriott, IHG and La Quinta are already strategically pairing social media with their loyalty program for greater interaction and to foster loyalty even when the customer isn't on site. Often referred to as engagement loyalty, this strategy provides both greater opportunities for engaging with existing and new customers while providing measurable outcomes that the business cares about. Let's first look at how these brands are marrying these two functions and then at how it is helping move the needle on important business measures like loyalty, spend, new customer acquisition and customer intelligence.
Connecting Social Media to the Loyalty Program
Most often, the first step in this journey is to link existing loyalty program members to their social media profiles. There are several ways to achieve this, but the most common is for a brand to send an email to its loyalty program base, asking them to link their social ID with their member profile in exchange for a reward, commonly program points. Once customers have done so, hotel marketers learn a couple important things. First, which social media channels their loyal customers prefer, which can help inform the social media strategy moving forward. Second, this gives marketers a multi-channel view of their best customers, being able to recognize and reward them regardless of where they are.
Having social IDs alongside self-identifying information, like an email address, in the CRM or loyalty database means that cross-channel promotions and activating offline marketing in social media suddenly becomes much more powerful. For example, once you know your loyal customers are in the social context, you can begin actively rewarding them for their social media evangelism and other desired activities.
Stay Connected Between Stays
A common challenge for hoteliers is to remain top-of-mind between stays. While that is more frequent for some than others, encouraging participation with the brand between stays is an effective way to retain and grow customer loyalty. There are many mechanisms to encourage participation, which we will get to in a moment, but they all look to achieve three common goals: