Is Hotel Guest Loyalty Still Alive?
By Rocco Bova General Manager, Chable' Resort & SPA | June 2019
Let's start a little back in time. The very first loyalty programs (Hilton Honors, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards Club, etc) launched in early 80's following Airlines mile-for-mile system which would rewards users for using their services.
It was a jackpot for large corporations, using hotels or airlines for their sales teams traveling around the world and saving millions of dollars each years.
It was convenient, immediate and most of all free to join. These programs have worked for many year collecting data and, most importantly, spending behaviour of their customers. Two of the most important information you need about your consumers.
In the early 2000's, as competition increased, the main hotel companies had to begin reviewing their programs and become more competitive too, increasing the reward system, including joining forces with airlines, providing better values and gain a larger share of the market.
Then the financial crisis of 2008 arrived and the decrease in travel impacted an entire industry where loyalty did not make any difference whatsoever but travellers were more focused on convenience in price and less in the brand.
Then, as technology became more and more powerful, data breach and security were the issue that worried both users and companies that run those programs. Basically every (large) hotel company was hacked into their systems and millions of customer data were stolen. As we all know how vital is to have data in today's business landscape, hotel companies had to (again) invest more millions to upgrade their servers, employ consultants to review their security systems and pledge to their users that data were now safer.