When it comes to engaging customers with a loyalty program, there are countless strategies to adopt. Some brands choose a unique reward experiences, while others may opt to focus on surprise and delight to spark loyalty within customers. Still others like The Guestbook, a loyalty coalition program for independent and boutique hotels, choose to engage these customers with obvious added value and, as of earlier this month, a chance to donate to charitable causes at the same time.
 
In addition to The Guestbook’s cash back reward options—5 percent instant cash back, or 10 percent for the equivalent of Guestbook credit—guests now have the option to apply this cash back to a charitable cause through a partnership with GlobalGiving.
 
“I have always appreciated my travel experiences and the communities that I have been fortunate enough to visit,” said James Gancos, Founder & CEO of The Guestbook.  “I believe that giving back makes a trip more fulfilling and better connects you to the place. With this latest redemption option, our travelers can choose to donate to a local community near the boutique hotel they’ve visited or support an important cause closer to home.”
 
Cause marketing can be a powerful force in the world of loyalty, appealing to a sense of positive social impact in addition to the value offered by the program. Earlier this year, Canadian Red Cross National Stewardship Specialist Andrew George spoke to Loyalty360 about the power of emotional connections when offering the chance to donate to charity.
 
“Emotion is a big driver for us and it is a big advantage,” said George. “Most people believe that charity is a good thing. We don't need to change that mindset. People might not necessarily support the Red Cross, in particular. They might support another organization close to them, but we get past that original objection [to engage] because people are certainly ready to give, and they do want to help. So whether a donor has made their first gift or their fiftieth gift, they are doing it because they feel a need to help.”
 
In a hospitality industry that has become a tug-of-war between direct bookings and third-party online travel advisers, The Guestbook offers partnered hotels the added bonus of rewarding guests for booking directly with the location in addition to the program’s site, an attractive bonus for locations looking to avoid the profitability impact of sites like Expedia or Priceline.
 
The Guestbook is partnered with over 500 hotels globally, with boutique locations including New York, Miami, London, and Rome. 

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