There is at least as much competition in the hotel industry for loyal, returning guests as there is for winning new ones. There are numerous loyalty programs, apps, and strategies out there to choose from. But what are the reasons? Why is it worth putting so much energy into turning a new guest into a loyal one?
In this week’s blog post, I collected the top 10:
Your loyal guests are already familiar with your hotel and its services. They were certainly happy with it if they book again. You can save valuable time in the sales process by not having to introduce your accommodation again and convince them that it is the best choice they can make.
Did you know that getting a reservation from new guests can cost up to five times as much as from existing ones? In most cases, you need paid ads to introduce your hotel to potential guests. And even if they visit your website, they are less likely to book than guests who have already stayed at your hotel at least once and left happy.
New guests usually have more questions before and after booking, until arrival. This is completely understandable, as they do not yet have experience with your hotel and may not even know its surroundings. You can't save the time and energy for communication in this case, as it will establish the first impression of the guests and even their future overall review. However, in the case of loyal guests, you can save most of the time spent on this task.
Returning guests usually spend more money at the hotel. One reason for this is that they already know its services and they know they can trust its quality. It is also a great opportunity to sell other services of your hotel, aka cross-selling. If there is a service they were happy with during their previous stay, they are expected to use it again and are more likely to try new ones.
It is quite common for some guests to return annually or more often, and in fact, on many occasions, they prefer to stay in the same room every time. Everything is familiar for them, they feel at home in the hotel, therefore willing to spend more time there. Never forget that guest satisfaction is one of the top priorities of your hotel, as this will establish their loyalty.
Often, even staff members receive higher tips from returning guests because they get to know them better and thus express their gratitude for their work. This can also increase the satisfaction of your team members. And just like that, a loyalty program can provide double benefits for your hotel.
The recommendation of a happy guest is undoubtedly one of the best advertisements, and you don’t even have to pay for it. Imagine if all your guests told at least one friend how great a time they had at your hotel. Indisputably an enormous number of new potential bookings, right?
Your loyal guests have been proven by your accommodation at least once, have left satisfied, and is probably why they return. As a result, if they come across any mistakes or problems during their next visit, they will be much more forgiving and understanding than new guests. They know it’s not your standard and their overall experience and image of the hotel will not be determined by that. For new guests, it’s the other way around. You and your staff have to make sure that they get the best possible first impression.
It is way much easier to keep in touch and communicate with returning guests. Whether it’s through social media, email, or text messaging through one of the apps, it’s a good idea to say “Hi” from time to time and remind them how great a time they had at your hotel. You can even send them an irresistible loyalty offer to convince them to spend their next vacation at your hotel.
When booking a hotel, reviews in which loyal guests share their good experiences are encouraging for everyone. This means that many people found the hotel and its services so good that they returned again and again. You hardly need a better advertisement for your hotel.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to make your returning guests a priority. Of course, this does not mean that new guests should be completely out of focus. Remember: as soon as a guest arrives at your hotel, your goal is to get them to leave with an experience that will encourage them to rebook. Creating a successful loyalty program and maintaining guest relationships is just as important as gaining as many new guests as possible through effective guest segmentation and building a profitable sales strategy for your hotel.
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