Spring Break is not just a highlight of the year for college students heading to tropical locations. With over 65.1 million people screened by the TSA during Spring Break in 2016, there’s a tremendous amount of travel for hospitality and travel brands to be excited about, too. With this large influx in travelers, hospitality and travel brands have an opportunity to harness data to nurture customer loyalty—and this can be achieved by focusing on mobile. In fact, according to Zebra Technologies, 75% of travelers are willing to share personal information in exchange for tailored promotions, coupons, priority service or loyalty points.
Brands Need To Be A Mobile Concierge
Brands should look to lead the customer’s Spring Break journey, not just follow it. With mobile engagement, a hotel can lead customers to places they’ll likely want to go in way that’s beneficial to both the brand and customer. Hotels already have data based on the past behaviors from guests, or from guests with similar profiles.
By leveraging the right mobile marketing tactics at the right time with the right customer, hotels can increase engagement and encourage additional reservations, up-sell and cross-sell services while guests are on-site. For example, when a guest checks in, a hotel system could recognize that they historically dine at the hotel restaurant between 7 and 9 pm, and usually have a drink with their meal. From there, the hotel can trigger a “complimentary drink at the restaurant” SMS message, incentivizing the traveler to visit the restaurant instead of calling it a night.
Mobile Loyalty Increases Spring Break Sales
Hotels, airlines and other travel-related companies can also increase their Spring Break sales by approaching customers at the right moment via mobile. Longer-view loyalty programs are key to this method, and brands strictly looking to advertise to and convert customers are missing a huge opportunity.
And according to Forbes/Sailthru, companies that increased their spend on retention in the last one to three years had a nearly 200% higher likelihood of increasing their market share in the last year compared to those spending more on acquisition. Travel and hospitality companies need to present travelers with personalized offers, which could mean revamping their traditional program and partnering with a strategic company that can offer complementary benefits. With these joint loyalty programs, brands give customers the ability to earn points when spending throughout their vacation, while also acquiring more personalized data.
Who’s Getting It Right?
There are already travel and hospitality brands embracing advanced mobile strategies to retain loyal customers. When it comes to joint loyalty programs, Hilton and Uber partnered to allow Hilton guests to schedule alerts through the HHonors app to prompt them when they need to schedule an Uber.
Similarly, American Express offers twice the points for paying for Uber using AmEx and offers two free Uber rides from select airports busy holidays. Additionally, JetBlue’s app is nearly real time and proactive about things like delays and gate changes, making it easy for customers to book travel with loyalty principles baked right into it, and can be used standalone or within Apple Wallet.
Customers’ expectations are constantly changing, and to hold their attention brands need to place on emphasis on personalized, frictionless experiences with more on-demand opportunities. Loyalty programs and mobile marketing tactics with true personalization deliver the right incentive, for the right behavior, via the right channel, at the right time. During one of the busiest travel times of the year, travel and hospitality brands need to focus on staying mobile to engage and retain a loyal base.