Loyalty Programs Have to Tailor Personal Messages or Consumers Will Tune Out

If a loyalty marketer can’t tailor personalized messages to consumers, the latter group will tune out and look elsewhere for customer engagement.

Robin Korman, who became the Head of Loyalty Marketing & CRM for Global Hotel Alliance in November, realizes this reality all too well. Her extensive experience includes stops at Wyndham Hotel Group and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

“Consumers are tuning out of programs that do not know them and do not tailor messages based on the interactions they have with the program,” Korman explained to Loyalty360. “The attention span of today’s consumer is SHORT so if the message is not relevant and hard to digest in three seconds, it will not break through. This puts pressure on marketers to use information intuitively and instantly to personalize and engage based on in-the-moment behaviors and interactions with the customer.”

Global Hotel Alliance is the largest alliance of 35 independent brands and 550 luxury hotels in 75 countries worldwide. GHA’s loyalty program, DISCOVERY, is designed for today’s discerning traveler who relishes great experiences. DISCOVERY was created based on consumer research that showed that frequent travelers did not want another points-based hotel program and are seeking authentic, memorable moments.

DISCOVERY members earn Local Experience awards to redeem for unforgettable, authentic adventures meant to connect each traveler more deeply with their destination and its people. GHA’s value proposition is unique in the hotel loyalty category, “yet we are still being discovered by our target, the affluent adventurous traveler,” Korman said. “We are a hidden gem among undifferentiated hotel loyalty programs that still focuses on points. “

Korman said GHA’s key goals are to increase awareness of DISCOVERY among intrepid travelers interested in uncovering great experiences, to create engagement in its loyalty program, and to incent stays booked directly on DISCOVERYLOYALTY.com.

“And while our goal is to make every stay unforgettable by connecting travelers to the people, places, and experiences that make a destination unique, we also offer benefits at elite levels such as room upgrades, an in-room amenity reflecting the local culture, and early check-in and late check-out,” she added.

Travelers today use various methods to search, compare, and book hotels including desktops, tablets, social, and mobile, as well as call centers and even walking up to the front desk, Korman noted.

“Travel marketers have to create communications, websites, and apps that demonstrate the aspiration while travelers are searching (even on tiny mobile screens) and then make the booking process simple and seamless no matter where the booking takes place,” Korman added. “Travelers are making large ticket purchases and usually consult seven or more sites before making a booking decision. Their travel choices are increasingly influenced by family, friends, and even people they don’t know through the many review sites so travel marketers and hotels have to stay on top of consumer sentiment in social media, as well as manage customer services issues delicately and immediately. Marketers need to be aware of what is being said in the social space and react to it because they no longer control the message … the customer does.”

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