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3 digital strategies that drive hotel guest loyalty.

April 20, 2023 By: Danielle Harvey

While vacation rental sites like Airbnb were once considered budget-friendly options for travelers, the growing dissatisfaction with hidden fees and unpredictable experiences has pushed them to seek alternative accommodations.

Now’s the time for hotel brands to capitalize on the trend and enhance the customer’s experience, both in person and digitally, to lock in the loyalty of travelers seeking places to stay. So, how can they improve their customer experiences to foster loyalty and retention?

Here are three strategies for creating a compelling digital experience to keep travelers engaged

Inspire travelers with a better search experience.

Planning a trip is just as fun and exciting as the trip itself, making it important for hotel brands to inspire travelers from the get-go. Take, for example, Airbnb’s search experience: with categories like “Lakefront,” “Amazing Pools,” and “OMG!” customers can explore every type of vacation imaginable and discover new destinations that weren’t on their radar before. 

To bring ease and excitement into the search experience, enable travelers to explore by location, property, and amenities. Just by giving customers traveling in groups the ability to book connecting rooms, Hilton was able to reduce traveler frustration. Hotel brands can also leverage AI tools like ChatGPT to scale their content generation and be the place where travelers go to stay and for vacation inspiration.  

And while not every hotel can match the amenities of vacation rentals, they can highlight nearby local conveniences and experiences as well as the amenities many rentals don’t offer, like an on-site pool, gym, spa, parking, and bars or restaurants. 

Highlight the consistency factor. 

Vacation rental sites like Airbnb may have conveniences like a kitchen and washer/dryer on-site, but there’s one thing vacation rental sites can’t guarantee that hotels can: a consistent customer experience. 

Besides providing an excellent search and trip planning experience, hotel brands should highlight consistency in their digital strategy. When travelers book a hotel room at, say, the Courtyard by Marriott, they generally know what to expect during their stay, making hotels a safer bet with no surprises. Moreover, hotel operators and concierges are always available nearby to ensure guests’ needs and expectations are met. 

That’s not always the case with independently-owned vacation rentals, where the traveler’s experience might not match up with the rental’s star ratings. Or, in some cases, instead of having private accommodations to themselves, travelers might have to share a space with the hosts or other guests, leaving more room for the unexpected. 

Leverage data to optimize the traveler’s online journey. 

As digital becomes the modern traveler’s preferred channel for researching, booking, and managing a stay, a hotel brand’s online experience is just as important as the in-person one. And they can improve it with an all-too-often untapped wealth of insight: customer data. 

Leveraging data allows hotel brands to view the journey through their customers’ eyes, and digital tools like Atlas enable them to interpret the data and discover how to serve every type of customer. 

How exactly? By focusing on the right data, they can see the purpose and motivation behind every booking.  

Say a hospitality company wanted to quickly understand what’s driving a sharp drop in bookings. Using Atlas, they could easily pinpoint the different factors impacting conversion rate and identify where the primary issue exists, like for a certain brand or destination in the above example. 

Take off with Atlas-guided insights. 

As frustration with vacation rental experiences grows, hotel brands must create impactful customer experiences to capitalize on the moment and lock in traveler loyalty. To do so, they’ll need to embrace digital as a critical part of the traveler’s journey, prioritize digital initiatives, and leverage data to inform future customer experiences. 

Want to learn how our newest solution, Atlas, helps travel and hospitality brands do just this? Learn more. 

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