WHEN IT COMES to choosing a hotel, it’s all about loyalty with business travelers, according to a study by the Global Business Travel Association and Omni Hotels & Resorts. Loyalty programs are a big factor in deciding where a business traveler will stay, and those travelers expect better service in return, the study found.
And they want that service personalized.
The GBTA study found 82 percent of 500 travelers surveyed online said hotel loyalty programs factored into their decision when choosing a hotel. Nine out of 10 were motivated by the programs’ rewards points and perks, while 81 percent believe being a member of the programs ensures better service. The favorite rewards include free nights, room upgrades and express check-in, and the number of travelers preferring to use those rewards for business travel versus leisure travel is close, 49 percent to 43 percent respectively.
Personalization of the guest experience is important to 84 percent of the surveyed travelers, and they’re willing to share some personal information to allow for that focused service. About 55 percent were willing to share preferred hotel amenities, 42 percent would share their travel itineraries and 39 percent would share their favorite type of restaurant or entertainment.
“From booking to check-out, our research confirms personalization is highly valuable to business travelers, with many seeking customized hotel experiences that are tailored to fit their business travel needs,” said Jessica Collison, GBTA director of research. “Both travel buyers and suppliers should evaluate how personalization factors into hotel booking and the guest experience when it comes to building their travel and loyalty programs.”
Members of Omni Hotels’ loyalty program stress the need for personalization in their feedback to the company, said Vice President of customer relationship management Chad Gaither.
“We aim to keep it at the forefront of our messaging as we evaluate and design the overall customer experience,” he said. “There are many ways to do this, but email messaging, for example, should recognize guests’ past activity and show appreciation for their loyalty.”