Running a successful hotel is reliant on building meaningful relationships with satisfied guests, who then become return customers.
Happy guests become return customers at your hotel. Repeat business means guaranteed income and less money spent on attracting new guests. The National Law Review found it costs 5 times more to gain a new customer than it does to keep your current clientele happy and content. Hotel owners know return customers are good for your bank account and for building your establishment’s positive reputation.
In an interview conducted by The New York Times, Casey Ueberroth, senior vice president of marketing at Preferred Hotel Group said “The loyal, engaged guest is driving large amounts of revenue. If you take care of that guest, he keeps coming back.”
From implementing loyalty programs with special incentives for return customers to going above and beyond with outstanding customer service and amenities, hotels are working hard to build return customers. Customizing the services offered at your hotel to fit the needs of many different guests, from families to single business travelers, helps ensure they come back (and recommend your hotel to their friends).
Return customers are a vital part of operating a successful hotel business because they’re a testament to the wonderful establishment you’re running. Repeat business means you’re doing business right. Satisfied customers are the securest guarantee of income in the hospitality industry.
So, you know you need to build your guest loyalty, but how is that best done in the hotel industry? How can you increase return customers at your hotel?
3 Ways to Increase Return Customers at Your Hotel
1. Offer a Guest Loyalty Program with Incentives
Guest reward programs are a positive way to increase business and encourage patrons to become return customers at your hotel. Incentives like preferred discounts on local car rentals, flights, and restaurants are effective partnerships to establish. Perks that appeal to guests’ wallets, such as free high-speed Wi-Fi, drink vouchers, and discounts on room rates are effective ways to keep guests coming back to your hotel as well. A loyalty program shows guests appreciation for consistent business and rewards patrons for choosing to stay at your hotel.
Studies show when offered even a small incentive, guests are more likely to become return customers. The opportunity to build up points or reach a higher status in a loyalty program is a strong motivating factor for guests to become return customers. When planning their next trip, travelers choose the accommodations offering extra perks (as opposed to your competitor without a loyalty program).
Raddison hotels are the perfect example of an established hotel chain in the industry offering a very beneficial and popular reward program for their frequent customers. Their loyalty program allows guests to rack up points and receive rewards like 20 points for every U.S. dollar spent, 10 percent off a reservation when booked online or through the Raddison mobile app, gift cards, and more. The longer a guest stays, the more points they earn and the higher their status in the loyalty program: from Club to Silver, Gold, and the highest level, Platinum status. All these wonderful incentives help Raddison hotels increase return customers and keep their business booming.
2. Go Above and Beyond What’s Expected by Guests
The hospitality industry is all about quality customer service. Making the effort to go above and beyond customers’ expectations fosters a positive experience and encourages guests to become return customers at your hotel over others. Staying up-to-date on the latest hotel trends is also important. Remember, return customers come back because they want to repeat their amazing and memorable stay.
Sending out a timely “thank you” email or note to your guests is a personalized touch they will definitely remember. After guests leave your hotel, they’ll likely not expect to hear from you so soon. An immediate sense of recognition and appreciation for their business will help you stand out. Remember, if you want more return customers, you need to reach out and ensure they feel welcomed to return!
Omni Hotels & Resorts are known to far exceed guest expectations in many ways. As cold weather approaches and flu season hits, several Omni Hotel locations prioritize sending up a bowl of complimentary homemade chicken soup for their guests who feel under the weather. This type of extra personal touch is likely responsible for their large number of return customers. Helping guests feel all the comforts of home means going the extra mile. Special touches (unique from other hotels in the area) will increase the return customer rate at your establishment.
According to a study conducted by Oracle, 89% of customers will take their business to a competitor after a negative experience. This applies across the board in business, but it’s especially relevant in the hotel industry where expectations are high. Both you and your staff should take extra steps to create the best possible experience for your traveling guests and lock in those return customers!
3. Cater to More Than One Type of Guest
Catering your hotel amenities and accommodations to more than one type of guest is key to attracting more returning customers to your hotel. From the single business class traveler to the couple on their honeymoon or large families with small children (and maybe pets), your hotel should be equipped to meet every patron’s needs. The greater the variety of customers you’re able to accommodate, the more you’ll see successful repeat business.
Although it’s likely your hotel already caters to a specific niche, it’s important you offer enough variety in your services so there is a little something for everyone to enjoy. Take the Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain in Tucson, Arizona for example. This hotel is well known for their family-friendly qualities like water slides in the pool area, special live entertainment for kids/adults to enjoy at night, and a menu catered specifically to children featuring items like S’mores French toast. BUT the popular five-star hotel also offers several high-end spa packages for adults to enjoy. Different holistic treatments and wellness services are perfect for the single traveler or women on a girls’ weekend trip. Various wedding packages featured on their site also cater to couples who are seeking romantic accommodation.
This hotel’s diverse amenities and accommodations appeal to many different types of guests and encourage customers to return. Consider following this hotel’s example by adjusting your services, amenities, and activities to meet the needs of all your different guests. Catering to several types of travelers will increase the number of return customers at your hotel.
Operating a customer-centric hotel that’s also a lucrative business is a huge task. Return customers are a great way to earn more money, establish a loyal customer base, and improve your hotel’s overall reputation in the hospitality industry.
Take the time to reevaluate the main points mentioned above and assess if your hotel’s current process is effective for increasing customer return rate. Is there room for improvement? Can you do more to encourage return customers?
If so, what are you waiting for!? Now is the time to implement these effective methods for encouraging return customers at your hotel. Keep in mind, repeat customers are satisfied customers, which is the most important part of running an outstanding hotel!