Hotel loyalty programs drive customer engagement. As a result, higher loyalty leads to more revenue and profitable growth. For example, hospitality brands like Hilton see more than 50% of room revenue from mature loyalty programs. However, we can all agree that managing a successful digital program requires quality touchpoints. Hotel marketers can’t provide these touchpoints without the help of technology.
In today’s crowded hotel industry, marketing automation can help hotels boost loyalty programs. A key differentiator is the use of personalization and timely communications with guests at scale. For instance, automation can segment customers based on their behavior and preferences. This makes it easy to target them with personalized messages and offers. This is an easy way to build buyer personas with real customer data. This is, in fact, what we call augmented buyer personas.
Additionally, automation can help hotel managers track and manage loyalty program data, making it easy to identify areas for improvement. By using marketing automation to create a loyalty program, hotel managers can improve customer satisfaction and retention while also reducing marketing costs. Also, hotels can become digitally customer-centric..
Let’s analyze the different hotel digital marketing strategies hotels can use to improve and revive hotel loyalty programs with the help of automated marketing.
Benefits Of Marketing Automation For A Digital Loyalty Program In The Hospitality Industry
According to studies, most people book hotels online. At the same time, 90% of US consumers belong to at least one loyalty program. This is why a strong digital loyalty program is a must, no matter the size of your hotel. A digital loyalty program gives hotels the ability to track and manage customer data, improve guest experience, and boost guest loyalty rates.
The use of marketing automation software can offer a number of benefits for hospitality businesses. For instance, it helps hotels constantly communicate with their guests before, during, and after their stay. This helps hoteliers increase direct sales. It also builds loyalty among customers by ensuring that they feel valued and appreciated.
In addition, using marketing automation to support a loyalty program can help you to upsell your guests on other products and services that they may be interested in. For example, if a guest is a member of your hotel loyalty program, you may be able to offer them discounts on future stays or upgrades to their room through marketing segmentation.
9 Ways Hotels Can Use Marketing Automation To Supercharge An Existing Loyalty Program
Hotels need to focus on creating and effectively communicating what they have to offer to potential customers. Marketing automation can help make this process easier by dynamically aligning hotel offers with what customers need.
Since the internet has become the primary way that customers book hotel rooms, hotels need to make a bigger effort to effectively communicate online. One-to-one direct communications are more cost-effective than online advertising.
These are 9 ways any hotel can improve an existing loyalty program with the help of marketing automation strategies and tools.
#1 Email marketing to guests before, during, and after their stay
Hotels are worried about sending too many email campaigns to customers, but the key is to send relevant emails that improve the guest’s experience. Also, to map the customer journey so that every email is helpful and moves loyal customers to the next step.
This can happen with a few or many automated emails depending on how far in advance the reservation has been made. For example, average guests book a hotel room a week in advance. Hence, for one of these guests, it would make no sense to receive an email containing content about what to do at a destination they’ve already visited.
Here is a personalized email example in the hospitality industry:
Now, in the following image, I’ll highlight the personalized fields:
In the end, hotels need to take into account the current situation of each guest and send emails accordingly. This way, guests will appreciate the relevance of the emails and not feel bombarded with too many messages.
Email marketing can be a great way to automate your hotel marketing efforts to guests before, during, and after their stay. For instance, you can use personalized emails to welcome guests before their stay, send them special offers during their stay, and follow up with them after their stay to build loyal customers.
#2 Send timely, personalized offers to guests
Personalization is the key to success for many hotel loyalty programs. By sending timely, personalized offers to guests across different digital and physical channels, hotels can keep their target audience engaged and coming back for more.
For example, emailing or even direct mailing customers with tailored offers or rewards can be an effective way to show your appreciation and encourage loyalty.
Hotels can use personalization in direct mail in a number of ways to create a more effective 1:1 marketing campaign. By using the recipient’s name in the Mail piece, the hotel is showing that they value their guests and want to create a more personal relationship.
In a digital world, guests are not expecting direct mail from your hotel. It has become an unsaturated channel and a great opportunity to create a wow effect.
Another way to personalize direct mail is to use information about the recipient’s stay to create targeted content. For example, if a guest is coming for an anniversary, the hotel could include a note about a special rate for an anniversary package. This type of relevant content is highly effective.
By using personalization, hotels can create a more effective and targeted marketing campaign that will lead to more direct bookings.
#3 Track guests’ behaviors and preferences
Hotels know their current customers better than anyone. They know what they like, what they don’t like, and what they’re looking for in a hotel. However, they often fail to use this knowledge to create effective digital hotel marketing campaigns. The reason for this is that they don’t have a way to manage this information effectively.
If you’re running a hotel, it’s important to keep track of your guests’ behaviors and preferences digitally on an individual level. This first-party data is gold. By using marketing automation software, you can do this easily and efficiently.
With the increase in privacy and data protection concerns, first-party data has become more important than ever. For example, European hotels need to take this into account to protect their reputation and improve the quality of their campaigns.
A marketing automation platform can help you track things like what kind of room they prefer, how often they stay at your hotel, and what kind of activities they’re interested in. This information can be very useful in tailoring your hotel marketing, pricing and guest experience to better suit your guests’ needs.
#4 Make personalized videos to help previous guests come back
When it comes to marketing to previous guests, personalization is key. And what better way to personalize your hotel marketing than by creating a personalized video for each guest? By automatically creating videos for each previous guest, you can increase direct bookings and give your guests a truly unique customer experience.
But, what’s a personalized video? A personalized video is a video that has been customized to include specific information about an individual. This can include their name, interests, and even a message from them.
Many hotels use video as a promotion tool. Well, personalized videos are a great way for video marketing campaigns that make someone feel special and appreciated. Which is one of the reasons why guests go to hotels.
Not to mention, it’s a great way to show off your brand’s personality and build relationships with your guests.
Here is a personalized video example in the hospitality industry:
If you are thinking about using personalized videos for your next video marketing strategy, you’ll want to see more B2B and B2C examples, case studies, and strategies.
That’s why I wrote another whole article on personalized video marketing. To see many personalized video examples for B2C and B2B marketing, read my article about personalized video marketing with real-life examples.
You can also add personalized thumbnail images to your email marketing campaigns to increase the email click-through rate (CTR). Here is an example:
Keep your videos short, sweet, and to the point. Use captivating visuals and descriptive language to sell your property and make it irresistible. A quick tip: send the video a day or two before their stay, so they can get excited about their upcoming trip!
If you want to give it a try, you can start with Pirsonal’s personalized video software for free today!
#5 Use marketing automation to segment guests into different loyalty tiers
In order to keep guests coming back, hotels need to offer loyalty programs that provide rewards for guests that stay often. Marketing automation can help segment guests into different tiers based on their booking and spending habits.
In fact, segmentation uplifts sales from email marketing campaigns.
This allows hotels to offer targeted promotions and rewards programs that will keep guests coming back. By using marketing automation, hotels can create a dynamic loyalty program that is tailored to each guest, which will ultimately lead to repeat business.
#6 Create and manage a guest loyalty portal with the help of automated marketing
A guest loyalty portal is a great way to use marketing automation to keep track of your guests. But also, it is a great way to make this information available to guests.
This information can be used to create a profile for each guest, which can be used to target marketing and promotions. Additionally, a loyalty portal can help you keep track of your guests’ loyalty points and status.
Connect this information to your customer relationship management platform (CRM). This way, whenever a user completes any relevant activity, the software will automatically engage with the now loyal customers.
#7 Integrate guest management systems with marketing automation tools
Hoteliers should consider a guest management system as an important marketing tool. Hence, a guest management system shouldn’t just be a management tool. This is one of the reasons why integrating this software with your CRM and marketing tools is vital.
For instance, take the following marketing automation workflow. As the infographic shows, whenever a new hotel reservation takes place, a new personal video is automatically made and then sent by email.
Simply put, use your data across the customer lifecycle. Don’t just leave it there.
By understanding how guests book their rooms and what their preferences are, hoteliers can optimize their business to better suit their guests’ needs. This guest data is vital to creating better offers, even dynamically.
For example, hoteliers can use this data to understand what services and amenities are most important to guests and make sure that they are offering the right mix of services. Additionally, hoteliers can use this data to better understand guest behavior and patterns, which can help them to improve the guest experience.
#8 Automate guest surveys
Hotel managers and hotel marketers are always looking for ways to improve the guest experience. One way to do this is to use marketing automation to become customer-centric through automate guest surveys. This allows you to collect feedback from guests on a regular basis and make changes based on their feedback.
Additionally, it allows you to track trends over time so that you can see how the guest experience is changing. Automating guest surveys is a great way to continuously improve the guest experience at your hotel.
#9 Monitor social media automatically
Hoteliers should consider automating their social media presence in order to manage their online reputation. Automating key repetitive tasks, such as monitoring and responding to reviews, can free up staff time to focus on other areas of the business.
Additionally, automated tools can help to ensure that posts are made in a timely manner and with consistent branding. Automated social media management certainly pays back, especially for hotel chains with a limited hotel marketing budget and an international target audience.
Also, hotel marketing teams can identify topics and key terms. With this, you can create relevant content marketing that addresses your target audience’s needs, concerns, and wants regarding the destination and what helps them buy again.
How to revive hotel loyalty programs with automation
Loyalty programs are a great way for hotels to keep their guests coming back. However, over time, these programs can become stale and less effective.
As you can see, then, to revive a hotel loyalty program with automation, hotels need to focus on three things:
- Making it easy for guests to sign up.
- Providing personalized perks
- Using customer data to improve the program.
#1 Easy Sign Up
Making it easy for guests to sign up is crucial. The process should be simple and straightforward, and it should be clear what benefits guests will receive by signing up. Remember that you are already gathering customer data whenever a customer makes a reservation. Avoid requesting information you’ve already gathered through previous processes.
Make sure to personalize the benefits according to the guest’s context. From day one, this will make an evident difference between your program and your competitor’s. Guests should feel like they are being rewarded for their customer loyalty, and they should be able to take advantage of perks that are tailored to their needs and preferences.
#3 Collect first-party customer data
Loyalty programs are meant to encourage customers to keep coming back, but all too often they fail to deliver. Part of the problem is that businesses don’t make use of the data they collect on their customers. By using customer data to improve the loyalty program, businesses can make sure that hotel guests use the program to the full extent.
Also, by providing loyalty rewards programs, such as points for each stay or discounted rates for frequent guests, hotels can encourage customers to return. In addition, hotels should focus on creating a VIP and personalized customer experience for their top guests to show how much they are valued.
By providing loyalty programs and excellent customer service, hotels can increase sales and create lasting relationships with their guests.
As the hospitality industry continues to grow and become more competitive, the need for effective marketing automation solutions has never been greater.
The hotel industry is one that has been increasingly focusing on developing profitable customer loyalty programs. This happens across the customer’s lifetime to increase sales from current leads and customers.
If you want to do this right, focus on understanding how each customer is. Also, analyze what their needs are, and communicate the program perks based on their needs.
This will in turn increase sales. Simply put, customers are more likely to return to a hotel that offers a loyalty program that meets their needs. There are a number of ways to engage with individuals at scale. Two of the most effective are hotel marketing automation and personalization, through the more relevant channel.
Personalization allows you to connect with individuals on a more personal level, tailoring your message to their specific needs and interests. By using both marketing automation and personalization, you can reach a larger audience more effectively and efficiently to boost your existing hotel loyalty program.
At Pirsonal, we specialize in helping hospitality businesses evoke a reaction from their saturated audience. Through expert customer experience automation, personalized video marketing, and technology, we help hotels increase engagement and revenue per guest at scale. Contact us now!