Research from Statista suggests that 42% of frequent travelers view loyalty programs as an important travel factor – more so than hotel upgrade options (28%), or travel alerts on their mobile device (31%). This data makes it clear that more independent hotels should be using these programs as a way to entice new hotel guests, as well as improving the relationship with existing customers.
Facebook can be a powerful tool when communicating with past, current and future guests. Travelers who have enjoyed their stay in a hotel will be able to share their experiences on their profile and encourage their family and friends to comment. Not only can Facebook work as an advertising platform, but it can also be used to showcase incentive and loyalty programs. Programs can vary depending on the property’s amenities, but each time a previous guest posts or shares about their experience, they can earn discounts on various hotel amenities or on future stays.
To help entice new guests, a referral system can be useful. Friends of previous guests, can like, comment or retweet the original post about the hotel and earn similar perks for future reservations. Since personal recommendations are so influential when deciding on where to stay, this could help increase direct bookings. Guests are now getting a recommendation from a trusted source and an incentive to book direct.
As the hospitality industry becomes more competitive, independent hotels need to offer new features and benefits to attract and retain guests. A rewards program can be a great way to do this, but making guests aware of these promotions is as important as having them. This is where Facebook can come in handy, especially when it is such a powerful way to encourage direct bookings and reward sign-ups.