Building Loyalty In The Lodging Sector


“We”re opening our second boutique hotel (15 rooms in first and 22 rooms in second) this summer and have found your food and beverage advice to be quite helpful. Wondering if you have any insight with regard to building or enhancing loyalty programs within the lodging sector. We’re doing well but only reaching 90% occupancy or greater three months out of the year. Looking for additional ways to compete with larger more established properties who are able to dole out points like breath mints.”


With high occupancies limited to three months out of the year, I’m wondering if you are in a predominately vacation destination. Regardless… lodging isn’t my field of expertise but I know some great resources accessible to operators like yourself. I will be attending the ILC Indie Congress next month on July 9th in New York (I recommend you do the same - next one after that is in LA) and will update this reply with any/all related information gleaned when I get back.

In the interim….

Outside of location / proximity to points of interest, I’d focus on the following 5 ways to compete for guest loyalty beyond points (although I would be remiss in not mentioning my interest in someday seeing a coalition of independent lodging operators who ban together to form a cross-brand point system).

1. Housekeeping

The cleaner the better. Period. Nothing leaves your brand susceptible to mediocrity (or worse) than not following up to ensure that every room is thoroughly cleaned and fragrant before turning over. 

2. Deliver & Measure Personalized Hospitality to each and every guest - from curb to corridor.

Remember EVERY member of staff is (or at least will eventually be) guest facing.

3. Update & Refresh Rooms with beautiful design and luxurious bedding whenever possible.

At the end of the day, I believe every guest appreciates a beautifully designed and well laid out space with down bedding.

4. Have Great Coffee...and tea.

Explore Nespresso or FRANKE commercial service and invest in really great beans or make room for a local roaster to set up shop on-site.

5. Extend The ‘Guest Lifecycle’ of your brand by offering some existing amenities (like gift shop inventory, spa specials, concierge recommendations and valet parking) to past and future guests. (See also this article on: Extending The Guest Experience Lifecycle)

Good Luck & Stay Tuned!

Josh Sapienza |