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How to Leverage Rewards and Engagement Program Technology

Transaction data helps you better understand which products and services are resonating most with your customers and when. But that’s only part of the story.
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The hospitality industry experiences a series of peak and off-seasons each year. While it’s expected that during peak periods like travel booking season you’ll be connecting with customers and securing sales, there are inevitably slower seasons that aren’t as opportunity-rich. 

Luckily, those seasons don’t have to create a drop-off. All customer interactions—no matter the time of year—can nurture long-term, fruitful relationships thanks to tech-forward engagement solutions you likely already use. 

With an ever-growing competitive landscape, more savvy consumers, and a pandemic to recover from, hospitality brands are aggressively vying for market share. By leaning on the technology that powers reward and engagement programs, you can deftly slice through the marketing noise.

Here’s how: 
Accessible data for consumer behavior insights.

Transaction data is important. It helps you track sales, inform your bottom-line accounting, and better understand which products and services are resonating most with your customers (and when). But that’s only part of the story.

While transaction data tells you what people are buying, the technology behind your rewards and engagement programs offers a rich source of intel to understand why your customers make those purchases at a holistic level. This can include tracking when people take advantage of promotions to earn rewards, as well as when they redeem points.

You can proactively become a driving force off-season engagement by leveraging data to provide you with a broader perspective that identifies emerging trends and forecasts future opportunities. 

Tailored treatment.

“Personalization” is a buzzword that in many cases has become devoid of meaning. But your rewards and engagement technology can help understand and reach each individual through AI and machine learning. This is where you can have an edge. Data trails can help provide tech-supported mapping and modeling that tells you how people are interacting with your brand, the frequency with which they engage with your company, and which types of promotions and offers resonate best.

For instance, some brands we work with have noticed that 30% of all transactions have been the result of individually tailored recommendations, and the beauty of the investment in automating that process is it continues to learn and enrich personalized offers over time.

Understanding purchase motivations opens the door for curating relevant, personalized offers and rewards consumers will be likely to use throughout the year—opening the lines of communication and creating ongoing touchpoint opportunities that drive sales in slower seasons and differentiate your business.

Structuring more effective promotions.

In the last couple of years, consumers have raised their expectations for the types and quantities of rewards and incentives they are offered. People actively search for promotions and deals that give them the most value and it has never been more important to provide offers on a 1:1 level via the right rewards and promotions at the right time in the right place to drive customer loyalty and compete for new customers. But some deals and promotions are more effective than others.

Increasingly, successful hospitality brands are shifting to non-discount led offers that drive value, spend, and footfall outside of a price-driven approach. Research  backs this approach: reward-based promotions perform better than instant discounts and can drive almost 60% more revenue with an 8% higher return on marketing investment. 

Smart promotions like those that offer better rewards (e.g., more loyalty or frequent flyer points) for higher dollar spend help brands drive sales volume and meet key performance metrics for brands and consumers alike (this is called the dynamic value exchange). 

Leveraging ecommerce to connect via digital channels.

Consumer expectations for ecommerce experiences are at an all-time high, and providing exceptional engagements has never been more essential. You can ensure your brand is keeping up by incorporating more versatile digital reward strategies that reach consumers wherever they are connected. 

This doesn’t just help drive return on advertising spend (ROAS), it also broadens your customer pool and gives you a new channel to interact with existing patrons and customers no matter where they are.

There’s no time to waste.

The greatest potential failure currently facing hospitality industry is being static in adapting to consumers’ ever-changing preferences and behaviors. As people become more discerning in how they spend and with which brands, the hospitality industry will be challenged with entering (and staying in) the minds of modern consumers. People are more receptive to hearing from brands they know, trust, and engage with on a consistent basis, and have a heightened interest in earning rewards associated with those brands. Technology makes the process easier and more efficient by informing. Smart, tailored, frequent engagements can lead to more profitable and long-term relationships and brands that fail to pursue this strategy will ultimately cease to be relevant.

About the Author

James Berry is Managing Director, Commercial at Valuedynamx.

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