May 07, 2013

Today’s hotel marketing programs insufficient in building customer loyalty


The time has come for air travel and hospitality brands to address an existential threat to the travel industry: Customer loyalty has all but vanished. Just 14% of air travel customers are loyal to an airline, according to a recently published Deloitte survey. Even more astonishing is the finding that a mere 8% of hospitality customers are loyal to a hotel brand.

The data is sobering for travel suppliers, many of whom pride themselves on customer service, attention to detail, and customer relationships.

Though airlines and hoteliers have collectively invested colossal sums to build loyalty programs, the reality is that those programs have largely created repeat purchase, not true loyalty. Such "purchased affinity" can drive additional purchases from customers, but it does little to drive true evangelism - the bedrock of highly successful brands.

Deloitte's findings on abysmally low loyalty rates for airlines and hotels point to just one conclusion: Current marketing programs are simply insufficient.

The airline and hotel industries continue to be challenged in their ability to foster true customer loyalty - let alone evangelism. And it's easy to understand why that's so: Travel marketing has specific constraints that don't exist in most other industries.

But travel marketers do have available to them many tools and marketing approaches that are simply out of the reach of many of their non-travel colleagues. By focusing on what is in under the control of the supplier, and mating that to the true needs of their traveling customers, brands can meaningfully improve customer loyalty in the airline and hotel marketplace.

Get the full story at MarketingProfs.com