The pandemic has created seismic shifts in how and why Americans are traveling and what they value in their hotel experiences. As travel begins to hit its stride in the summer months, hotels are ready to bring back guests and return to pre-pandemic numbers.
While the desire to travel for many is strong, guests are becoming more fickle than ever. Hotel operators’ tried and true, one-size-fits all approach no longer results in repeat bookings and a lackluster rewards program won’t get the job done. It’s now imperative that operators take a deeper look at who is traveling and more importantly, why they are traveling.
In SevenRooms’ recent data report, “Booking Behaviors: Exploring Hotel Guest Loyalty,” we uncovered two distinct profiles of the 2022 hotel guest – the Personal Patron and the Business Traveler – and what makes them tick.
Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty
According to the data, loyalty programs are extremely important to today’s hotel guests – nearly half (44%) of Americans saying that loyalty programs play a part in their hotel choice (in other words, where they are choosing to book or rebook).
It’s imperative that hotels have these programs ironed out, and that they go beyond a blanket “hello” as over one-third of Americans say recognizing their loyalty status upon check-in increases the chances they’ll rebook.
To many, this may seem obvious but, often, we see operators falling short with their programs by disregarding that each guest is different. To better highlight the vast differences between guests, we developed two personas – the Personal Patron and the Business Traveler.
The Personal Patron
A new breed of traveler, the Personal Patron enjoys leisure and is eager to book a flight or explore a new city this summer. From a demographic perspective, data revealed that this adventure-seeking traveler is more likely to be female and over the age of 35.
She enjoys making the most of – and getting value from – her stay and is motivated to rebook at a hotel through points-driven incentives, including getting additional loyalty points that can be used for enjoying on-property restaurants and bars, earning enhanced credit card rewards, and receiving dining credits for hitting a new loyalty tier.
To keep this Personal Patron coming back, hotels should offer targeted dining-only points that can be redeemed or earned at venues in their own city. For example, encouraging them to book a staycation or use a local hotel’s amenities for a spa day or afternoon at the pool, to maximize the use of their points even at home.
The Business Traveler
On the flipside, the Business Traveler isn’t looking to lounge poolside. This traveler, who is more likely to be a male between the ages of 18-34, may be a junior staffer who travels for work, oftentimes needing an extended stay, or a long-distance commuter looking for a mid-week homebase.
The research revealed that this guest is more focused on perks that enhance their on-property experience and make their stay more enjoyable, especially those in which food and beverage are involved. These perks include getting additional loyalty points for enjoying on-property restaurants and bars, receiving a complimentary drink or pre-selecting an in-room F&B amenity upon arrival, and being recognized for their loyalty status upon check-in.
Because it’s clear this guest wants to participate – rather than sit and relax – hotels looking to convert this sometimes-nomad into a loyal customer should offer them memorable experiences. This could be something as small as a complimentary glass of wine with their room service order, or a priority reservation at the popular lobby restaurant for a power lunch.
Opening the Doors
The upcoming summer season is on track to be a busy one – with travelers eager to get back into the world and hotel operators looking to fill rooms once again. The stakes are high for these operators, however, so they must put their best foot forward to entice these capricious guests, gain their loyalty and, ultimately, drive the revenue they need to keep doors open.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Austen Asadorian is the Vice President of Sales at SevenRooms, where he is tasked with supporting SevenRooms’ global expansion efforts and accelerating the company's goal of being the best-in-class solution for hospitality businesses globally. Prior to joining SevenRooms, Austen was Peloton’s Director of Sales, helping the company define their go-to-market strategy for retail growth and expansion. He started his career at Hillstone Restaurant Group where he cut his teeth learning how to run efficient and profitable restaurants at scale. Austen was ultimately promoted into an executive role where he oversaw the company’s Manager in Training Program and Back of House Operations. Austen graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).