Skip to main content

The Elusiveness of Modern Brand Loyalty (by Rachel Watts)

In today's hospitality industry, companies are doing more and more to attract new customers. Money is poured into increased services, adaptations with changing technologies, corporate social responsibility programs, and intensive advertising strategies. So why is the concept of brand loyalty still so difficult to come by? According to Profitroom’s 2016 Report on Hotel Sales & Marketing Trends, consumers visit up to eighteen different websites before selecting a room. This includes company's social media pages, advising sites like Yelp, as well as the numerous OTAs (online travel agents) that are available.

The heavy argument in favor of OTAs is their sometimes-substantially-lowered price points and the fact that their presence increases competition and drives overall market prices down. In my time working for an independent 180 room hotel, I grew to resent the existence of OTAs. The expectation of a hotel visit is to have a nearly flawless experience, but OTA benefits abruptly stop as soon as the transaction goes through. I have watched numerous guests stand outside of the lobby frantically booking a room through a third party site on their mobile device and then waltzing in and attempting to check in. However, it can sometimes take up to a couple of hours for these transactions to get fully processed through the OTA and then integrated into the hotel PMS. Additionally, a front desk clerk will assume that anyone booking through an OTA is a one-time guest, and will not go through any extra lengths to improve the guest's stay. An OTA reservation will often be placed in a room that has fewer amenities, is a farther walk, or has a worse view. This is not intended as a slight on the customer, it is just a good business practice to save the better rooms for patrons that are more likely to give a return on the investment. With that in mind, if all a customer chooses to value is the dollar amount of the room, then it is reasonable to see the draw of OTAs.

Many businesses have intensive brand loyalty programs that promote a mutually beneficial relationship between the businesses and their consumers. According to the Pareto Principle, 20% of invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. Therefore, in the hotel industry, it can be argued that 80% of profits derive from 20% of guests. Hotels are increasingly developing ways to personalize service, rather than separating guests into generalized categories. Although it is often considered a necessary evil, it is important to note the importance of email lists. Profitroom found that clients open e-mails with offers adapted to their needs 6% more often than those who read emails with no customized offers.

Other promotions such as sweepstakes can improve the brand’s image and awareness, and thus is an effective manner. “Marriott Rewards, the company’s award-winning loyalty program, launches its “50 to 50” campaign that includes a sweepstakes which gives members in three countries a once-in-a-lifetime chance to take a group of 50 of their friends and family to attend the game and enjoy an exclusive VIP Super Bowl 50 weekend in the San Francisco Bay area” (Herrera-Davila). Following the sweepstakes, Marriott unveiled a short film where the winner, alongside an NFL player, was able to tell his family the exciting news, which now has over 2.3 million views on YouTube.



The industry has barely begun to scratch the surface of how personalized service can rebuild brand loyalty. An overwhelming majority of modern hotel guests not only appreciate but expect highly personalized service at any property. It is clear that this is an inevitable trend that will continue to grow within the market; the only question that remains is which brands will be able to execute it successfully.

What are some other strategies that hotels can implement in order to build brand loyalty? How can current rewards programs be improved or modified to make them more appealing to guests?

About the Author: 

Rachel Watts is a junior student at The Collins College of Hospitality Management who transferred from the College of Marin in the Bay Area. She has years of industry experience at an independent hotel, and numerous serving/bartending jobs. Rachel is the 2016-2017 President of Eta Sigma Delta Academic Honor Society and will also serve as a Collins College Ambassador. Rachel is currently a Premium Management Intern with Legends at Angel Stadium. After graduating in spring 2017, she is planning to pursue a career in sports and entertainment.

References:

Herrera-Davila, N. (2015, September 10). Marriott International Creates Two Epic Super Bowl 50 Fan Experiences. Retrieved from http://news.marriott.com/2015/09/marriott-international-creates-two-epic-super-bowl-50-fan-experiences.html
Hotel Sales & Marketing Trends 2016. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.profitroom.net/trends-2016 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Luxury vs. Millennials and Their Technology: The Ritz-Carlton (By Julia Shorr)

Embodying the finest luxury experience, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC has been established since 1983. In 1998, Marriott International purchased the brand offering it more opportunity for growth while being independently owned and operated. They are known for their enhanced service level as the motto states, “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”. The luxury brand now carries 97 hotels and resorts internationally and is attempting to keep the aspects of luxury while keeping up with the trends of the technologically improving generations. The Varying Demographics of the Target Market The Ritz-Carlton’s typical target market includes: business executives, corporate, leisure travelers, typically middle-aged persons and elders, and families from the upper and upper-middle class section of society .   This infers a large range of types of travelers in which all are similar in that they are not opposed to spending extra for the luxurious ambiance. However, with

The challenges of SB 93 (California Senate Bill No. 93) will impose on the employers and their human resource management team (by Brittany Schaffer)

The COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, and it has caused massive changes within a short period of time. One of the most rememberable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was that businesses had to come to a complete halt, forcing them to lay off employees. California's unemployment rates went up.  Now that the stay-at-home orders have lifted, people start to come out. Businesses are now reopening, looking to rehire their laid-off employees. Before the pandemic, employers had the option of recalling only a certain number of laid-off employees they would want to rehire based on employees' job performance. That option had been changed after Governor Gavin Newsome signed into law - Senate Bill 93, which went into effect on April 16th, 2021. The California Senate Bill No. 93 (SB 93) According to SB 93, companies in specific industries, mainly the hospitality industry, have the obligation to provide job opportunities in written form to qualified employees being laid off due to COVI

The complicated situation of tattoos in the workplace (by Harry Law)

Tattoos are a form of expression that convey the individuality of their owners. They can represent a multitude of things, like a tie to a family member, a favorite quote with a special meaning, or even a favorite cartoon character. Tattoos also can carry great cultural and/or religious significance. Every tattoo is unique and says something about the individual person who wears it. The problem that many companies face is when a tattoo is considered appropriate and when it should be covered.  Employees are after all the faces of a company, so the tattoos on their bodies are connected to and represent that company as well. Some workplaces have instituted rules and regulations when it comes to their employees’ tattoos, but there can be negative consequences when a company goes too far in telling their employees what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. The Disney Company has recently changed its policy on tattoos. Disney’s goal is to create a magical, fantasy experience for their