How Hospitality Marketers Can Move Beyond the Transactional to Build Lasting Relationships


Hospitality marketers are working hard to learn how to better utilize their customers’ data, and hotels are looking for smart ways to personalize their communication with customers, so they can keep them engaged before, during, and after their stay. Facing challenges like understaffing and the aftereffects of COVID-19, marketers are having to learn how to do more with less and could use a breath of fresh air. Up against issues on the point of personalization and data, they are looking for new and inventive ways to build long-term, lasting connections with guests.

Confronting challenges around data, hotels usually have email programs along with guests’ contact information, which is valuable, but marketers could begin to do more to take advantage of that data — communicating with customers before, after, and during their stays. To enhance the customer-brand relationship, marketers could begin by better personalizing loyalty programs — rather than programs being simply transactional, they could work to foster foundational relationships with their customers. The essence of relationship marketing begins with establishing a human-centric approach to actually understanding an individual’s wants and needs — that means getting to know customers on an emotional level and learning exactly what they’re looking for when it comes to your brand’s products and services.


Activating the “Golden” data from hotel guests


Even though hotels and the greater hospitality industry are able to collect fresh zero-party data from their customers — that is, data shared directly to the brand from the customer themselves — they have typically lagged in activating that data in a meaningful way. By truly personalizing their email channel, hotels have the opportunity to take their loyalty program to the next level by interacting with guests on a more frequent, consistent, and personal basis. While nearly all hotels have an email program, both for transactions and promotions, hospitality marketers need to do more to build those lasting relationships with their customers.

By gamifying their email channel to collect psychographic data such as favorite destination, hotel amenities, or even dining preferences, hotels can create more relevant touchpoints and serve up messages and offers that surprise and delight. Creating value for guests starts by identifying exactly what customers are most interested in, but that is a relatively low cost for the hotel. Examples might be emailing receipts with a quick survey that give a redeemable offer or point value, incentivizing guests to interact with the brand more, rather than just printing, or granting access to services and preferences like the concierge, the lounge, or the health club. From a marketing perspective, the goal — or challenge — is getting customers to think about their brand, return for more stays, stay longer, and hopefully recommend them to friends and family. 


Keeping guests loyal and coming back for more


Improving loyalty programs and boosting membership is a targeted objective for every hotel. Creating genuine and lasting relationships necessitates a deeper connection between customers and brands. How marketers use customer data is increasingly important; every action, input, and communication from brand to customer should leave customers feeling valued and respected — that’s how brands can achieve emotional loyalty. By tracking any interaction a guest has with their brand — from opening an app, visiting their site, or simply checking in — hotels can make guests feel special by recognizing and rewarding even non-financial interactions. In fact, 60% of global consumers state that receiving messages and offers after spending 2 minutes on a brand’s website or app are pleasant. It’s these signals customers provide that can give marketers the opportunity to listen and then deliver on their brand promise and prove long-term value to their audience.

Another excellent opportunity to create value for guests during their stay is to direct their experience toward loyalty rewards, value offers, discounts, or additional points should anything go awry during their stay. Reacting quickly and positively in moments like these is valuable because it shows that the hotel is listening to customers and working to build those lasting relationships by trying to make things right. 


Build foundational relationships with Marigold Engage+


The primary objective for marketers should be to establish an emotional connection with customers — to create connections rather than focus on conversions. Achieving this level of intimacy demands an elaborate and strategic sequence of activity and behavior to drive customer engagement at every opportunity. Though hospitality marketers have been working hard, doing more with less, now they can have the ability to connect with customers in a new and innovative way. 

Marigold Engage+ has been helping brands drive revenue, increase engagement, and boost retention with its relationship marketing platform. Managing the correlation between relevant offers, personalized communications, and even recognizing non-transactional actions as part of a loyalty strategy is now easily delivered with Cheetah’s engagement platform. Marigold Engage+’s loyalty engagement platform can stand as a full loyalty and points-based platform or can work alongside your current loyalty program to engage, incentivize, and gamify, providing value for non-transactional guest interactions.

By integrating Marigold Engage+, marketers can uncover new insights and audiences, drive results with recommendations as well as intelligent predictions — and marketers can deliver this with real-time marketing triggered by customer behavior across channels. With solutions rooted in personalization and orchestration, Marigold Engage+ allows marketers to gather the data they need to begin building lasting relationships with their customers. 

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