Loyalty programs are often seen as a key differentiator for marketers, elevating them to greater heights while engaging customers and achieving brand loyalty.
That is certainly true of the food and beverage and hotel industries where loyalty programs drive repeat business with their ability to identify consumer habits, demographics, and personalization opportunities, according to a new report from Oracle Hospitality.
As a result, these industries can effectively create frictionless customer experiences that encourage repeat engagement. Oracle conducted a survey of 6,500 global food and beverage consumers and 8,000 hotel travelers represented by the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Australia, U.K., Germany, France, and Japan.
Here are some key insights from the report:
Consumers around the world want to join loyalty programs. In the U.S., 65 percent of consumers are already members of one or more food and beverage programs. Even in Japan, where the lowest percentage of consumers were already members of a program, nearly one-third belonged to a loyalty program.
Plastic loyalty cards remain the preferred loyalty tool with mobile applications gaining popularity. At 62 percent overall, plastic swipe cards were the most preferred method across all generations. At a 56 percent preference, millennials wanted to use apps for loyalty programs and 50 percent of Gen Xers also agreed that apps are a preferable method.
Perceived personal savings drive loyalty. Money off every purchase (71 percent) and free products (63 percent) were the top two most attractive rewards to consumers.
“Loyalty programs provide restaurant operators with the opportunity to reward guests for repeat business, to create a marketing database for personalized promotions, and to guide the strategy for future programs ensuring their relevance,” said Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Hospitality and Oracle Retail. “Oracle Hospitality has a differentiated offering that leverages best-in-class, cloud POS with an integrated gift and loyalty solution and cloud analytics suite that minimizes the creation of disparate data silos which can create false perspectives of guest engagement.”
Key insights from the hotel industry include:
Hoteliers still have a chance to create long-term relationships. Among all survey participants, 58.7 percent reported that they do not belong to a hotel loyalty program. A mere 3.2 percent stated that they belong to five or more.
Loyalty initiatives are “sticky” and encourage repeat stays.
Consumers want control over how they redeem rewards. Globally, most consumers identified that they are interested in being able to choose how they redeem their rewards (61 percent) and 57 percent are interested or very interested in being able to customize their hotel guest experience (room choice, newspaper, late check out, etc.).
Key insights from the report showcase opportunities to engage guests prior to and during their hotel stay:
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. guests said it was “very or extremely important” for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience.
Ninety-four percent of business travelers and 80 percent of leisure travelers value the ability to use their smartphones to request service and message hotel staff.
Guests are comfortable sharing with hoteliers a fair amount of personal information: 71 percent would share information about food preferences/allergies and 64 percent would share their entertainment preferences.
Sixty-two percent of guests used non-hotel sources such as the Internet for dinner reservations and activity recommendations, bypassing the concierge from whom guests say they would prefer to get such assistance.