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Spotlight: Engagement & Loyalty in Leisure & Hospitality

The average Brit is spending an estimated 15% of their monthly budget on leisure. From al fresco dining to those Great British Holidays, we Brits spend on average £200 per month on leisure activities. This equates to a whopping £8.3bn per month! With consumers spending so much of their hard earned cash in the sector, engaging and retaining consumers couldn’t be more important.

Customer engagement is the depth of the relationship a customer has with a brand; part science, part emotion.  It is built and reinforced (or destroyed!) with every interaction an individual has with a brand. From purchasing in store to Instagramming their latest purchase; all these interactions create a connection between brand and consumer…. And if brands want to attract the ever illusive “loyal customer”, they sure as hell better make sure that every single one of these interactions are positive!

Leisure and Hospitality is a sector that is very well positioned to benefit from customer engagement and loyalty. The loyalty game is a race. And to win that race you must stand apart. You must understand your customers. Understand what they value and then deliver personalised rewards that matter to them. Mere enrolment in a loyalty program does not indicate active loyalty. Although there is no single recipe for pushing customers over the loyalty tipping point, there five strategies you can leverage to attract that “loyal customer”:

  1. Foster your Fanatics

Today’s consumer demands personalisation, therefore, it pays to offer flexibility in the way in which customers can engage and redeem the benefits of your loyalty program. Millennials for example think of loyalty in terms of “free nights or meals earned”, not “points” or membership status. At present, almost one-third of Millennials do not redeem points earned. This illustrates negative engagement and the outdated approach of some loyalty programs in the sector.

  1. Ask!

Ask your customers and find out what they want. To build long lasting relationships you must understand what turns your customer on (and off!)  Understanding what your customers want allows you to better tailor rewards, encouraging them to take that room upgrade, for example. From browsing on your website, to their stay; you can track your customers’ behaviour, creating a profile at the most granular level.

  1. Customised Experience

No one likes to get what everyone else got…. Make your customers feel special! At every touch point you should look to customise their experience. Once you know your customers, the ways in which you can offer customisation becomes second nature. In a world where people are mass marketed to an average of 5,000 times a day – give them something worthy of their attention instead.

  1. Create a Circle of Trust

Data drives loyalty, and loyalty drives data; it is one virtuous circle. Data collection is one of the biggest and currently missed opportunities of loyalty programmes. Like point number 2 above, understand what turns your customer on. For example, the Jones family visit your tourist attraction (zoo) two times a year… usually during Easter Half Term and the last week of the Summer holidays… but they didn’t visit this Easter. An email offering them a VIP pass to attend feeding time with the animals might be just what is needed to prompt a visit.

  1. Personalise!

In our blog last month “Have You Swiped Your Nectar Card?” we spoke about traditional loyalty schemes surviving on the ethos of “points mean prizes”. Today, with the rise of big data and increasing digitalisation of marketing, the face of loyalty schemes is changing… to look a lot more like you. Loyalty schemes need to be an eclectic mix of rewards, activities and capabilities, personal to the customer.

In short, engagement pays! At Reckless, we have a simple formula for boosting engagement, you can read more about our approach here.

This formula isn’t just theory either. Reckless has enjoyed a host of success with leading hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions, just check out our case studies for proof of the pudding!