When value points become expected they lose their buzz and wow factor and become a part of your brand standard. In the world of hotels, resorts, airlines – free points for stays or flights has become the norm and is an expectation rather than a value add for most.
Kimpton Hotels has found a way to work around those brand loyalists (and, are they really loyal to start with …) and build true Zealots for their brand by adding a personalized and unexpected twist to value.
Read on, as shared from Tim Manners at Reveries.com:
Rather than cutting room rates, Kimpton Hotels is building loyalty by adding “wonderful and bizarre” amenities, reports Elizabeth Olson in the New York Times (12/1/09). For Greg McHale, who travels 50-60 days a year, this means finding Snickers bars, Diet Pepsi and “a compact disc of his favorite electronic dance music” when he checks into his room. “The level of personal attention really blows me away,” says Greg. As a result, he says he always stays at a Kimpton if there’s one in town.
For business traveler Paul Sues, loyalty to Kimpton paid off in a weekend trip with his spouse to Oregon wine country. The getaway included “meals made by Kimpton chefs, and a balloon ride over the vineyards.” Says Paul: “I’ve traveled my whole career, and I used to stay, well, wherever … Now I’ll only stay somewhere else if I can’t find one of their hotels.” Kimpton is also known to offer “specially prepared dinners for its most frequent guests, including one recently for top-tier female travelers and their spouses.”
Other hotel chains — especially on the high end — are also adding perks in hopes of dodging deep discounts because once the rates go down it’s hard to bring them back up. Discounted rates aren’t exactly a formula for building loyalty, either. According to Forrester Research, just “36 percent of business travelers said they were brand loyal this year, compared with 42 percent two years ago.” And Smith Travel Research says the “average occupancy rate in October was down 6.2 percentage points to 58.1 percent, and per-room revenue dropped 13.8 percent to $57.57 from the year before — the worst numbers in more than two decades.”
As republished from Tim Manners at Reveries.com