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How to Build Genuine, Passionate Hotel Guest Loyalty

By July 29, 2022hotels

Running a hotel is complex, but when it comes to guests, the goal is surprisingly simple. You want them to have a memorable and happy stay, repeat book, recommend you to their friends, and leave stellar reviews.

The secret to all that is simple too. Build genuine loyalty. And that means going beyond a cookie-cutter, faceless “guest loyalty program.”

It means doing everything you can to offer guests a magical, personal, unique experience that they can’t help but rave about online and in person.

And the best way to do that? Using the power of hyper-connected hotel technology to: 

  • Make guests feel appreciated and unique

  • Offer frictionless, personalized guest stays

  • Establish excellent communication

  • Offer incentives and perks for repeat bookings.

Let us show you how.

Create magical stays and you’ll win repeat bookings. Delight guests with Operto Guest.

Make your guests feel deeply appreciated and unique

Guests receives coffee

Personalized touches can make guests feel truly appreciated and specia

Most hotel industry loyalty schemes look the same. They typically offer a preset number of loyalty points per stay, and maybe some discounts.

But how much more welcome would your guest feel if you offered them a personal gift? And technology makes it possible.

For example, perhaps it’s the guest’s second time staying, and your and your hotel management system  shows that the last time they were here, they ordered a latte every morning. So imagine if, instead of some points, you offered that guest a free latte with a note to say you noticed how much they enjoyed the drink the last time they stayed? 

A tiny gesture. A golden opportunity to make the guest feel noticed and appreciated, and an exceptional way to make sure your hotel stands out from the rest.

And the best part? Building a guest engagement strategy in this way actually works. 

Research shows that 80% of consumers say they buy more from companies that personalize their experience. Consumers are also more likely to place great value on experiences that save them time and offer them personalization—86% of consumers say that personalization plays a role in their purchase decisions—compared to earning points or other benefits of typical hotel loyalty programs.

Make frictionless, personalized guest experiences

Wowing guests with personalized, memorable experiences goes far beyond lattes, of course. 

Modern guests expect a frictionless experience from booking to check-out, and using hospitality experience hotel technology lets you make their stay highly seamless and personal.

Self-check-in

check-in messaging cluster

Enabling guests to check-in digitally saves time and removes the traditional arrival frustration

Connecting guest experience software like Operto Guest to your hotel PMS means guests are sent all the information they need for self check-in exactly when they need it, exactly where they want it (the smartphone on which they do everything else).

From the booking confirmation email to the pre-arrival information, mid-stay check-up message, timely hotel upsell, and pre-check-out reminder, Operto Guest allows you to establish clear, helpful, and personalized communication from the start. Operto Guest establishes clear, helpful, and personalized communication from the start.

Forget waiting in line at a front desk. By the time they arrive, guests will have been welcomed, security checked, and sent their unique door access code. This means they can head straight to their room on arrival, making them feel at home instantly, with none of the frustration traditionally seen during hotel check-in.

Digital guidebooks

digital guidebook cluster

Giving guests a digital guide and welcome book helps them feel right at home.

As we all know, once the guest has checked in and gone straight to their room, they might have questions. 

Technology helps here, too. Platforms such as Operto Guest offer an integrated digital welcome book and guidebook addressed directly to the guest—as always—right within their smartphone.

Put the answers to any common questions here, plus personalized recommendations for the local area, mapped out by location.

With an interactive map right in their hands and the answers to any lingering questions answered, guests will instantly feel taken care of, personally welcomed, and ready to relax and enjoy their stay.

Create magical stays and you’ll win repeat bookings. Delight guests with Operto Guest.

Excellent communication

Operto Guest communication cluster

Personalized, easy and responsive communication is key to building guest loyalty

The real secret to building guest loyalty is making guests feel at home away from home. And that means personalized experiences, easy conversation, and a stay that feels unique from the start.

With your hotel staff freed from endless front desk tasks, they’ll be on-hand to chat via your guest communication software should any extra questions arise, and will have the time and headspace to create truly memorable, stand-out experiences.

How about recommending a popular vegan restaurant to a guest who eats a plant-based diet, offering a romantic boat trip for the honeymooners who just checked in, or simply inviting a couple downstairs to the bar for their favorite cocktail (the one they couldn’t stop ordering last time they stayed)?

These small details, made possible by hyper-connected technology, pay major dividends.

Offer discounts for repeat bookings

Drinks on balcony

Offering perks such as free drinks on arrival is a simple way to incentivize repeat, direct bookings

Giving guests a magical experience at your hotel offers one major advantage: They’re likely to return. True loyalty means guests will book again and again, and will expect the same personalized attention each and every time.

For example, as the happy guest is leaving, capture and build on the high of their incredible stay. No need for a front desk; even if the guest checks out digitally, Operto’s messaging features make it easy for you to send them a perfectly-timed incentive to book direct.

This might take the form of a 10% discount for their next stay, free drinks upon arrival, free nights, or a room upgrade for an upcoming special birthday—all with a one-click, smart button confirmation.

Not only do direct bookings save you fees compared to booking through OTAs, but they also give opportunities to build on your positive relationships, and secure revenue and occupancy through repeat bookings for years to come.

A diagram showing how using Operto Guest to build guest loyalty can offer real benefits to business

Building genuine guest loyalty offers real benefits to business in the long-run

Why do hotels need loyal customers?

Happy guests in hotel room

Happy guests will become loyal fans, and return again and again to your hotel

Now you know how to offer frictionless experiences through the power of dedicated hotel tech, it’s time to look at why. Why do hoteliers like you need to care so much about building guest loyalty in the first place? Try these:

More repeat bookings

We’ve covered this above but it bears repeating. Loyal customers become repeat guests, and they book direct—especially if you sent them a great incentive to book via your messaging platform the last time they stayed.

Sidestepping the OTAs means your hotel has less competition, you save on fees, and you can also fill up your calendar in advance, ensuring occupancy and revenue months ahead.

More five-star reviews

Happy guests might leave a review, but a truly satisfied guest will leave five stars and a glowing recommendation that sings right off the page. And that’s good for business; expert marketing company Semrush found that 90% of people are more likely to trust a brand with recommendations (even from a stranger). 

Offering effortless stays with memorable, personalized touches will mean guests clamor to let everyone know just how impressed they were, convincing new customers to hit that “book now” button ASAP. Inviting guests to review their stay via Operto Guest makes getting great online reviews even easier.

More referral bookings

Reviews aren’t just digital. The same Semrush study found that 88% of people “had the highest level of trust in a brand when a friend or family member recommended it,” and that 78% of people “rave about their favorite recent experiences to people they know at least once per week.” 

Give guests a magical stay at your hotel—with specific, tailored recommendations that stay lodged in their memory, and a streamlined communication tool like Operto Guest—and they won’t be able to stop telling everyone they know to visit.

Minimizing cancellation rates

You can’t offer guests a great stay if they never even arrive. And yet, cancellations are a fact of hotel life.

Even before brand loyalty kicks in (which is more likely after a guest has stayed previously, and not so much for first time guests), guests are less likely to cancel if they're provided clear information about their stay ahead of time.

A key benefit of Operto Guest is that the guest can access the web app in advance of their stay, and begin to make plans to enjoy on-site or local amenities, see more property images, and connect with the property via messenger. 

This is more likely to minimize cancellation rates because they have 'connected' with the property and are building trust in advance.

Hedge against tough times

Talking of protecting revenue, when times are tough and travel is down, the hotels with the most loyal fans stand the best chance of continuing to get business.

If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that travel is never guaranteed. Trends that appear here to stay are in fact anything but certain—and having a trusted base of loyal guests is a surefire way to ensure guests keep coming back, helping you ride out any unexpected seachange or temporary storm.

Tailored technology: For the ultimate loyal guest

Creating super-loyal fans is about making guests feel appreciated and unique, even if they’re the hundredth guest to check in today. It’s about ensuring their arrival is as streamlined, stress-free, and as memorable as possible.

Using the power of hyper-connected technology via a white-label web app such as Operto Guest enables you to do just that.

Leveraging smart devices such as keycode locks, easy guest communication, and recommendations tailored to their details—including, yes, their favorite coffee order—will enable staff to pack guests’ visits full of personalized and thoughtful touches that transform their stay from mundane to truly magical.

Create magical stays and you’ll win repeat bookings. Delight guests with Operto Guest.

Frequently asked questions about hotel guest loyalty

What is guest loyalty in hospitality?

Guest loyalty in the hospitality industry is about making guests feel appreciated and unique by making their experience as easy as possible, and with personalized touches that make their visit 5-star memorable.

What are some benefits of guest loyalty?

Some benefits of guest loyalty include more repeat bookings, more five-star reviews, more referral bookings, better business resilience during more difficult times, and lower cancellation rates. Guest loyalty is about more than creating a rewards points-based scheme; it’s about making guests’ stays as personal and memorable as possible.

What is the difference between guest loyalty and customer satisfaction?

The difference between guest loyalty and guest satisfaction is that guest loyalty goes much deeper than customer satisfaction, although satisfied and happy guests can become loyal fans. Customer satisfaction is about giving guests a good stay, but building guest loyalty is about going above and beyond to offer memorable and personalized customer experiences that guests can’t help but rave about.

What factors affect guest loyalty?

Factors that affect guest loyalty include offering a personalized and streamlined experience, to make guests feel appreciated and unique. This includes saving them time and offering them convenience, as well as personal touches to tailor their stay. Platforms like Operto Guest can offer solutions such as self check-in, digital guidebooks, excellent communication, and incentives for repeat bookings, to foster guest loyalty and turn visitors into long-lasting fans. 

How do hotels increase guest loyalty?

Hotels can increase guest loyalty by focusing on making visitors feel valued, unique, and appreciated. Using technology to make stays as convenient, friendly, and personalized as possible builds loyalty due to consistently memorable touches that bring more repeat bookings, more referrals, better reviews, fewer cancellations, and improved resilience in tough times.