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Beyond points: loyalty trends shaping hotels



The online marketplaces of the twenty-first century, together with changes to consumer lifestyles, have compelled hotels to transform the way they court customers. Guests suddenly had a voice, a very loud one, that could make or break a hotel’s image. Millennials’ demand for superior service, mobile devices and social media shook up the industry, turning everyone’s attention to loyalty. 
 
Adopting co-creators & brand ambassadors 
Profound changes in consumer lifestyles and buying behavior highlight the need for hotels to adapt to their guests’ new mind-sets. The new paradigm for the connected twenty-first century consists of factors not previously conceived within the realm of loyalty. Those include customer perceived value, co-creation, brand ambassadors, opinion leaders, customer engagement, customer communities, social media and employee engagement. 
 
New technology, new roles
Extensive adoption of technology, social media and communities put customers in a new role. Guests can make a significant contribution to service value, determine a hotel’s technology adoption and bring online communities to life. The role of customers has extended to the more important function of co-ownership of the hotel brand and its potential success. 
 
Active engagement impacts brand value 
In the past, brand management was a hotel’s primary task, in an effort to gain a superior market image and customer loyalty. Today, the strategic focus, beyond mere customer loyalty, is to achieve customers as co-owners and co-creators of value. Hotels seek strategies to enhance customers’ active engagement with the hotel and encourage them to serve as brand ambassadors. 
 
Personalize guest experiences to generate loyalty 
Hospitality companies acknowledge that their existence and growth depend on their ability to create unique, memorable and positive experiences for customers. Tailoring and designing personalized experiences that connect the company with like-minded consumers creates brand ambassadors and co-creators of value, ultimately enhancing loyalty and profitability. 
 
Nurture your community 
Co-creation and brand communities both offer promising ways to establish valuable relationships with customers because guests feel greater loyalty toward brands with which they develop strong affinity. Therefore, hotels are advised to foster customer engagement and participation. Engaged consumers generate brand referrals, contribute to innovation processes and are most likely to become loyal guests of your hotel. 
 
Anil Bilgihan Ph.D. teaches hospitality marketing at Florida Atlantic University. Connect with him on LinkedIn. 
 
Looking for a loyalty solution for your hotel? Reward your best guests and your bottom line with Cendyn eLoyalty.
 

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By Anil Bilgihan
Hospitality Marketing Professor – Florida Atlantic University
Posted: 04/14/2017