Elite Perks at Hotels Are Great, but Outreach Keeps Me Loyal

When it comes to having elite status with a hotel, my two favorite perks are by far free Wi-Fi and access to the club lounge. I also appreciate the other amenities that vary by hotel chain – and even brand within a chain – including room upgrades and welcome gifts (free bottled water, food platters, etc).

But what keeps a brand front-of-mind even more in my book is when I receive an email from the hotel. And I’m not talking about the post-stay surveys (obviously), of which I probably complete 80% of the time. They’re the ones from hotel GMs or other managerial staff either before or after my stay that leave a lasting impact.

I was in suburban Chicago for a wedding the weekend before last and stayed at the DoubleTree Wood Dale, a property I’ve been to several times in the past. (Side note: this is a great hotel for out-of-towners attending the Chicago Seminars if the Holiday Inn and other overflow hotels book up – the rates are usually incredibly cheap and it’s just a short drive away).

The day after I checked out I received an email from the GM thanking me for my business and hoping my stay was “excellent.” He noted a survey would likely follow from Hilton, but he also encouraged feedback sent directly to him. And I did just that. My stay was indeed very good, though I noted a couple of very minor annoyances (a flickering light outside my room creating a strobe effect and a wet lobby floor from remodeling work).

The GM responded to my email within an hour, addressed my concerns and provided updates on the progress of the hotel’s refresh. His reply honestly did more to keep DoubleTree and Hilton front-of-mind than the free bottled water and room upgrade I received.

Similarly, I have a couple of separate hotel stays this weekend (United’s 787 inaugural!!!) and one property already reached out via email offering a specific point of contact for any issues that might come up during my stay.

These are just two examples of the many emails I’ve received since holding elite status with hotel chains. It’s a simple, free and effective marketing tool a hotel can employ to keep my business. I still want my published elite amenities, of course, but the act of personal, direct contact by an actual on-site employee increases the likelihood I’ll be a repeat guest and remain loyal.

[Speaking of outreach and communication, there is an issue with all reader comments being sent to the SPAM folder for BoardingArea blogs, including mine. I’m filtering through the hundreds I receive daily for actual comments and will get them approved and respond in-kind as soon as possible… I’m not ignoring you!]

Related posts:

Another Hilton Social Media Outreach Success Story

Hotel Promotion Failure Resolved via Twitter

Chicago Seminars: Summary

Comments

  1. I must agree that the personal outreach from a named person is a tremendous marketing tool and one that costs them nothing other the admin assistant’s time to send it. (One can instantly tell boiler plate emails from those written by someone who know the details of your visit.) Now t hat you’ve opened the door, I also get to comment on favorite perks and amenities, status or no status. Access t o the club/lounge and/or a decent breakfast is a biggie. However, this is a benefit that obviously costs the house real dollars and of course they do not want ALL guests in there. One way or another, you end up paying for that important convenience. There is also a good chance that some guests will abuse the evening access and simply skip the hotel’s bar and/or restaurant. All that said, my pet peeve in nearly all hotels is charging for internet access. Yes, they have to pay for the service, but their direct costs are minimal. The idea that they charge such outrageous fees for this service – or include it as a perk for guests with ‘status,’ pisses me off to no end. On several occasions, I’ve made booking choices or even changed hotels to avoid paying that disgusting fee. In 2102, I view internet access as in the same class of basic hotel services as are electricity, hot water and clean linens! [Rant Mode=OFF]. Cook

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