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Increasing Guest Loyalty with a Personal Touch

Friday May 30th, 2014 - 10:34AM

For many travelers, a large driver of bookings is a responsive loyalty program combined with thoughtful perks and amenities. The biggest factor in guest loyalty is a personal experience at a specific hotel, according to a SmartBrief whitepaper sponsored by The Wall Street Journal of lodging professionals. Here’s how some hotel groups are thinking about their guests’ needs while bolstering their loyalty programs:

1. Hyatt recently started its “Hyatt Has It” program, which provides guests with an array of personal items they may have forgotten, such as a phone charger, curling iron, yoga mat or makeup-remover wipes. Guests can keep, borrow or buy the goods. For stylish travelers, the Hyatt Union Square New York created an “Accessories Butler,” a service that loans guests pieces of jewelry, scarves and clutch purses. The curated selection and where to buy the items are displayed in the hotel’s lobby.

2. Major brands are continuing to offer their own innovations to maintain guest loyalty. IHG revamped its offering in July 2013 with a new name and benefits. Now called IHG Rewards Club, the program gives its 71 million members free Internet access. A study that the company commissioned showed that nearly half of adults said they would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for Web access. The chain began offering the perk to all members in 2014.

3. Historically, only major hotel brands have offered loyalty incentives so travelers who prefer independent hotels have long forced to choose between one-of-a-kind properties and the perks of repeat stays. To address this, a network of independent hotels created Stash Hotel Rewards. Guests earn points based on their room rate and can redeem them for free stays at the program’s members such as The James Royal Palm in Miami Beach, FL and Denihan Hospitality Group’s The Benjamin in New York. The Stash website features a blog that promotes the properties and deals, functioning as another marketing vehicle.

About The Wall Street Journal

More than two million people read The Wall Street Journal every day, including travelers staying at your properties. With surprisingly affordable options, The Wall Street Journal, available in both print and digital editions, keeps your guests up-to-date on everything from global news to sports, travel, fashion and entertainment.

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