Guest loyalty programs have long been an exclusive perk of big brand hotels, attracting repeat business with credit toward a free stay. Now, thanks to the quick and overwhelming rise of OTAs, travelers are more informed than ever and shop around extensively before choosing where to stay. Travelers are becoming less loyal to brands, seeking unique stay experiences over cookie-cutter amenities and spurring demand for loyalty membership at independent hotels, too.
Loyalty programs for independent properties, such as Stash Hotel Rewards, enable independents to level the playing field with chain hotels while maintaining what sets them apart — their independence. These independent hotel loyalty programs support a network of one-of-a-kind hotels at which guests can earn and redeem points for free room nights, upgrades and other perks like gift certificates. Even a PMS-based or proprietary guest reward program can effectively promote guest loyalty at a single property, particularly with repeat business travelers and frequent nearcationers.
A study published earlier this year by the Center for Hospitality Research at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration shows that loyalty programs encourage frequent guests to stay even more frequently. The study reported an average 50-percent increase in revenue among both groups of independent hotels surveyed when guests joined their loyalty programs. Guest loyalty programs for independent hotels work.
Loyalty programs for independent properties can offer even more benefits for hoteliers and guests than those for chains. Independent rewards programs typically allow hoteliers more freedom in setting redemption rates, enabling hoteliers to yield manage rooms by offering dynamic pricing to maximize occupancy — an obvious benefit to guests, too. No black-out dates and more generous rewards are also luring guests away from chains to independent loyalty programs. Corporate travelers on the whole have always been loyal to chain hotels and their loyalty programs, but independent reward programs are enabling independent hotels to win over this typically hard-won segment. Independent hotels with reward programs report an increase in convention business, too. And because points are normally only awarded to guests that book direct, an independent loyalty program can also be an effective strategy for increasing direct bookings over OTA reservations.
Ask us about the WebRezPro Property Management System rewards module, which allows the flexibility to set your own conversion rates. WebRezPro also offers a direct interface with Stash Hotel Rewards that automates the process of managing Stash member point balances.