By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
HSMAI hosted a Chief Loyalty Officer Virtual Roundtable on April 3 that focused on the impact that COVID-19 is having on hotel loyalty programs. CLO participants shared best practices, lessons learned, and ideas for preparing to accelerate as quickly as possible. Here are three of their suggestions, presented in their own words:
1. FOCUS ON CUSTOMER NEEDS
- “Go back to basics. Consumer behavior is going to look different, and that’s something we have to take into account with our loyalty programs and business in general.”
- “What we have learned is the customer appreciates working with us directly. Some booked through OTAs and weren’t able to cancel their reservation. That’s an opportunity for us.”
2. ACT QUICKLY AND DECISIVELY
- “We have been making decisions quickly and taking out layers of bureaucracy to do what is right. We have to be flexible with our thinking in ways that we weren’t in the past.”
- “Act decisively. We’ve been making sure to treat guests with empathy and really changing how we communicate with guests to highlight the things we’ve been doing from a community perspective to generate goodwill. We’ve had to learn how to operate in a very different way. There are a lot of takeaways on operating more effectively.
3. COMMUNICATE WITH HOTELS
- “We’ve been doing daily check-ins. Everything is changing so fast, and getting on video chat with different groups every day helps keep things moving.”
- “We hosted four town halls for our hotels in the Americas, the U.K., Europe, and Japan. We covered a lot of topics. It was an opportunity for our hotels to hear directly from us and know what we were hearing and what were planning to do. A lot has changed, so we will be doing additional ones in the coming weeks, but the strength was connecting with member hotels. We are an extension of them, their eyes and ears.”
For additional information, insights, and tools, visit HSMAI’s Global Coronavirus Resources page.