That brings us back to the hotel loyalty brands. Hotels can’t guarantee a unique experience in a loyalty program contract, it is impossible to standardize and monetize uniquity. Having the personal connection be at the forefront of customer interaction increases the chance that a positive person-to-person connection is made. Rather than handing guests pamphlets of what is popular around the city, get to know them, make a suggestion based on personal experiences, it may not be perfect but it’s different. The most important thing that a hotel can do is provide a unique and engaging experience for any customer that will lead their opinion, rather than that small discount or free bottled water with a loyalty card.
The PwC survey pointed towards another fact, “The differences in loyalty preferences uncovered in the survey were not significant enough to suggest a vast difference between millennials and 30+ travelers. In fact, the tendency to over-index for millennials might well ignore a larger macro trend that spans millennials and beyond.” Attempting to capture the difference between millennial travelers and the older generations in order to cater to one or the other will detract from providing the best service to all if taken too heavily. The survey concluded that while it is great for hotels to continue to assess their loyalty programs it is not wise to do it based on what millennials want because they want to “create special moments that drive loyalty.”
These are the three experiential takeaways from the PwC CIS: Hotel Loyalty:
§ Cater to both business and leisure travelers in a customized manner. While leisure travelers are more price-sensitive, business travelers are looking for the most advantageous points offerings for use on a future personal trip. Brands are well advised to tailor benefits and loyalty programs accordingly.
§ Recognize all age groups to shape and implement loyalty programs. While millennials are driving rapid change across industries, their attitudes and behaviors toward loyalty programs are not unique. The survey found that while some preferences may vary, millennials’ criteria for a desirable hotel loyalty program is closely aligned with older age demographics.
§ Hospitality companies should consider aligning with sharing economy partners for unique guest experiences and opportunities. Among millennials enthusiastic about the sharing economy, 60% said this was largely due to a thirst for adventure. For both business and leisure travelers, the option of staying at a sharing economy property becomes more feasible when it is combined with a recognizable hotel brand. All leisure travelers in PwC’s focus group said they would stay more frequently at a sharing economy property if they could also generate hotel brand loyalty points for their stays.
To read the full report see PwC.