Brand loyalty is the ultimate dream for every hotel, as well as the most difficult challenge to overcome. At a time when there is so much competition, with each hotel vying with each other for popularity in terms of their services and amenities, it is very hard for hotels to actually capture the hearts of their guests and make sure that they become brand loyal. Impressing a guest with great services is one thing. But to make them stay, and want to return is another altogether!Brand loyalty has the element of emotion in it. This means that the guests actually ‘love’ the hotel so much that even when offered better alternatives, they would still prefer to stick to the hotel brand they are loyal to.Often, hotels fail to create brand loyalty because they do not appeal to this ‘emotional’ element of their relationships with their guests. This achieved when hotels stop seeing the guests as simply customers, but as part of their family. When this perspective is what guides the hotel’s policies and facilities, the seeds of brand loyalty are sown in the hearts of the customers.Brand loyalty is always spoken of in terms of emotions and feelings because the strongest motivator behind human behavior is emotion. It is this factor which distinguishes man from other animals. As such, the core idea that must guide every decision that the hotel makes should be that they have to touch their guests’ hearts, not just their minds. Capturing the mind does not have a permanent effect because the guests can shift their loyalties other hotels easily. This is more difficult to do than it sounds! But it is definitely not impossible to achieve.
Here are some practices that can help create brand loyalty towards you:
- Tailor-made, personalized service
Wants and needs have become so complex today that people have highly specific needs. If you can identify these needs and offer services which show that you have taken the trouble to make your guests feel special, it can do wonders for your hotel. Even very simple gestures such as offering a complimentary cake of a flavor that the guest likes on her birthday (provided the guest is staying at your property on that day, of course) can be a wonderful gesture.
- Going beyond what is needed
Your only way to get an edge over your competitors is if you offer services that go beyond what would usually be expected of you. For example, reaching the guests’ luggage to their rooms is what they would expect of you. However, giving them a complete list of flight timings even (if you know they are planning on flying next) even without them asking is to go beyond what is required.
- Avoid turning down requests as much as possible
Turning down a guest’s request is a big taboo in the Hotel Industry. It is always a better idea to give in to certain extra requests by the guests, provided it is not very unreasonable. There may be emergency situations that can create needs for the guests that your hotel policy does not allow. In such cases it is always a good idea to give up rigid adherence to hotel policy and thinking from an emotional perspective. This is a sure way to creating brand loyalty towards you.
- Extreme patience and cheerfulness
No matter how cranky and annoying a guest is, the fact is that as long as they are on the property, he is your responsibility and is the prime reason for your hotel’s business. Although it can be very trying at times, under no circumstances, except when absolutely necessary can the hotel staff be mean, sarcastic, or rude to the guests. Even if a point has to be repeated over and over again, it should be – with a cheerful demeanor. This will not go unnoticed.
- Focusing on relationship-building rather than profit maximization
A number of hotels, as well as other businesses, make profit their prime focus. Business meetings with profit as the focus can lead to decisions that are fraudulent and unethical. Although this may generate a lot of profit in the short term, it is a sure way to create a disastrous future for the hotel.On the other hand, when building relationships is the focus, profit making is slow but steady and permanent.
- Treat employees well
The ultimate way to make sure you create brand loyalty is to treat your employees well. A happy workforce will ensure a happy crowd of guests. And a happy crowd of guests will generate a lot of goodwill towards your hotel. If you take care of your employees well, they will gladly go an extra mile for your guests.