Hospitality schemes ‘need improving’
Research highlights ten principles that can improve program performance
The hospitality and gaming industries can develop stronger frequent guest programs by paying attention to customer psychology and desires.
A new report from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) highlights ten principles that it says will make it more likely that loyalty programs actually develop loyal customers.
The research shows that the ten most successful methods of improving loyalty programs are:
– Foster customer engagement
– Establish a two-way value proposition
– Capitalize on customer data
– Properly segment across and within tiers
– Develop strategic partnerships
– Develop dynamic tiers
– Cater to customers’ desires for choice and fairness
– Avoid commoditization by differentiating
– Avoid the price sensitivity trap
– Embrace new technologies
“Virtually all hospitality and gaming firms have some form of customer loyalty program,” said report author Michael McCall, a professor of marketing at Ithaca College and a CHR research fellow, “but so far there’s not much evidence that these programs actually create customer loyalty. So, we looked at the basic concepts of customer psychology to focus on ways that these programs can actually build loyalty. One key point is to be careful with price-oriented rewards, which can turn the potentially loyal frequent guest into a discount-focused customer.”
Co-author Clay Voorhees, an assistant professor at Michigan State University (MSU), pointed out that most loyalty programs do encourage repeat purchases, but only up to a point. “Repeated purchases don’t necessarily equate to loyalty,” he said. “What we observed is that once customers hit a reward tier, they consider whether they can make it to the next tier or whether it’s easier to get rewards from a competitor. Loyalty program designers need to find ways to keep customers active.”
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry.
The research is available free from its website: www.chr.cornell.edu