Loyalty To Go: How Mobile is Remaking Guest Allegiance

By Vanessa Horwell Founder & Chief Visibility Officer, ThinkInk & TravelInk'd | November 18, 2012

The ballots are in. The votes tallied. And President Barack Obama successfully avoided joining the more than 12 million unemployed. While pundits will argue his re-election was as much about an aggressive (and expensive) negative ad campaign as it was substance, there will be just as many supporters who will point to his recent speeches and swearing in address earlier and say they're loyal to the man who offered a list of promises – prevented financial meltdown, began an economic recovery, fixed healthcare, hunted down Osama Bin Laden – and delivered, and so on.

Yet supporters will say even more. Obama loyalty remains multi-faceted: from his cool, calm, demeanor, to his matter-of-fact style, to his reliance on tech-savvy youth to help get out the vote via smartphones and tablets, to his all-too-human human blunders, (remember the Beer Summit?) people were also loyal to the person for good or for worse, and not the politics. As President Obama placed his hand on the bible and swore to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States," his immediate concerns over citizen loyalty came to a close.

But when it comes to industry loyalty, and specifically the hospitality sector, hotel operations don't run in four year cycles, and nor can they take presidential retreats to Camp David to collect their thoughts. Committing to loyalty is a constant process, where even the slightest misstep could impact occupancy rates and the equally important revenue per available room, (REVPAR). In these still-challenging economic times, for hotels as in other industries, retaining existing patrons – like voters – is vital. And to a large extent, mobile is the ideal medium to drive that engagement. While 2012 has proven to be a banner year for mobile and its incorporation into hotel hospitality and loyalty, 2013 is where hoteliers must get creative. They must move beyond mobile's low-hanging fruit e.g. mobile booking, checkout, trip itinerary planning and really break new ground.


Because the above mobile amenities list is becoming as standard (and unimpressive) as the placard boasts of "in-room color TV." As the New Year removes its training wheels, sobering itself from the parties and hoopla that closed out 2012, the new "loyalty party" is fast moving toward the realm of social media. Only through the combination loyalty programs and social media, and the ways in which guests are being empowered to become the next generation of brand ambassadors is where the as yet uncharted hotel loyalty territory lies.

The Rise of "Socialized Loyalty"

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.