Implementing a Guest Loyalty Program is a form of building a loyal client base, and also enticing new guests to patronize a particular business establishment. The inclusion of Guest Loyalty Programs is part of managing a business establishment that aims to develop sound and desirable relationships with its clients and take advantage of their worth for the business, such as added revenue. Primarily, Guest Loyalty Programs attract guests and encourages them to return for more offers and services. (Otwell & Davis, 2005) Moreover, guests who frequent business establishments are awarded benefits and advantages in order to show appreciation for their loyalty and patronage through the Loyalty Program
Guest Loyalty Programs come in different forms. For instance, businesses allow guests who frequent their establishments to earn advantage points for their every visit in the establishment. These points allow them to redeem added services and offers that fit their most pressing needs. These benefits include for example health and relaxation services such as spa treatment services and a day at the gym programs for luxury hotels, food discounts, freebies and gift certificates for restaurants, etc. while others include complimentary full course meals of breakfast, lunch, or dinner buffets, etc.
In order to gain a better understanding of Guest Loyalty Programs, several examples that are widely used at present in business establishments shall be compared and contrasted in the following paragraphs. Visible Results Limited has launched an innovation for the purpose of Loyalty Programs, called the Graphicard™. The Graphicard™ is a form of a loyalty card the exceeds the standards of ordinary membership cards that we know of.
The Graphicard™ is digitized and it incorporates elements of technology that make it easier to use and track down accumulated points as well as the corresponding benefits that shall be granted to the client. For every transaction in the particular establishment that a client makes, it is reflected on the face of the card. Moreover, as the client accumulates more points, the benefits and advantages granted to him are also reflected on the face of the card. (Visible Results, 2006)
The good thing about it is that it updates itself for every transaction, it shows value for every transaction that the client makes, it utilizes a pointing system that is needed to establishing the particular Loyalty Program, it is much more enticing than other Loyalty Programs because it employs high technology, which represents the current trend, and it also accumulates all the benefits and services that are incurred during a specific period of time, with the client’s continuous patronage.
Another example of a Guest Loyalty Program is one that is employed by the Carnival Cruise Lines. It also implements subscriptions for a membership card called the “Platinum” card wherein a client gets to be a member of the “Carnival Concierge Club.” Upon membership, the client is automatically granted specific and identified benefits and services that he may enjoy while aboard the ship. Benefits and services include personalized club items such as stationeries, priority laundry services and dinner reservations, etc. (Carnival Cruise Lines, 2006)
The similarity between the Graphicard™ and the loyalty program implemented by Carnival Cruise Lines is that they both grant benefits and services to their clients. However, the difference lies on how clients are included in the program and what benefits and services shall be granted to them. For instance, the Graphicard™ shall be given to clients and the benefits and services that they receive shall depend on how often they use the card. On the other hand, the loyalty program of Carnival Cruise Lines shall only be awarded to clients who have sailed with their ships for over ten times and the benefits and services that shall be granted to them is fixed and applies for all.
Some industry best practices that businesses employ include personalized loyalty programs that allows clients to get involved with how they become members of loyalty programs (such as personalizing membership card themes and mode of payments, etc.), partnership marketing or an business establishment’s links to other establishments and organization in order to provide benefits and services for clients wherever they are, “green” marketing or a business establishment’s involvement with nature that allows him to establish a socially responsibly image and reputation, and digitized types of membership. (Pearson, 2007)
Business establishments are able to implement different types of guest loyalty programs. Rewards Loyalty Programs allow customers to earn points for their every transaction. Accumulated points are redeemed through rewards that the business establishment shall grant to their clients. Rebate Loyalty Programs provide for gift checks or cards that the client is able to redeem during the next transaction. Usually rebate checks and cards are granted to clients if they reach a certain amount throughout their course of spending within the business establishment.
Loyalty Programs that show appreciation to the continued patronage of their clients are not granted in monetary form. They are usually non-monetary benefits and services such as complimentary meals in restaurants, room upgrades in hotels, etc. Partnership Loyalty Programs are benefits or services awarded to clients that are provided for by the business’ partner establishment. For valued guests who have proved their loyalty to the business establishment, the loyalty program by affinity is implemented, such that benefits and services are additions to preview rewards and bonuses. (Summers)
Guest Loyalty Programs are successful if it encourages clients to purchase or patronize services and offers provided by a business establishment. After the client’s primary experience, he is convinced to return to the particular business establishment. Basically, loyalty programs are successful for the obvious facts that they attract many clients, not only to the point of attracting them but also in making them stay. Moreover, successful loyalty programs are those, which encourage clients to spend more, thus, increasing the revenue of the business establishment. (Customer Service Point)
The advantages of employing different approaches in Guest Loyalty Programs is that it motivates clients who have already been a member long before, to learn more and explore about the new offerings of the business establishment. Moreover, innovations are appreciated by clients because of the efforts that business establishments do to satisfy their clients. Generally, people are always encourage to try things that are new to them, so introducing innovative loyalty programs shall motivate them to continue patronizing the services that business establishments provide.
The disadvantage is that, perhaps, new members who have been part of the previous loyalty program might get discouraged if the system of gaining points and earning rewards, without having them to accumulate points in order to gain rewards, is changed ever so often. In addition, membership cards that are needed to be renewed for the changes in loyalty programs might become costly for clients who have to pay for the membership again. (De Weaver, 2002)
Carnival Cruise Lines. (2006). “Carnival Cruise Lines Rolls Out New Past Guest Loyalty
Program.” Retrieved April 17, 2008, from Carnival Cruise Lines.
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from Customer Service Point. Website: http://www.customerservicepoint.com/loyalty-programs-characteristics.html
De Weaver, G. (2002). “The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Loyalty Programs.” Retrieved April 17,
2008, from B&T Today. Website: http://www.bandt.com.au/news/6a/0c010f6a.asp
Otwell, K. & Davis, D. (2005). “Guest Loyalty Programs for the Vacation Rental Industry.”
Retrieved April 17, 2008, from Visual Data Systems. Website: http://www.vdsys.com/presentations/garezfest.pdf
Pearson, B. “The Global Loyalty Infusion: Best Practices and Innovations Around the World.”
Retrieved April 17, 2008, from Penton Media, Inc. Website: http://chiefmarketer.com/cm_report/global_loyalty_0211/index.html
Summers, J. (2008). “Five Types of Loyalty Programs: Which is Right For You?” Retrieved
April 17, 2008, from Restaurant Coaching Solutions. Website: http://restaurantcoachingsolutions.com/five-types-of-loyalty-programs-which-is-right-for-you/
Visible Results. (2006). “Graphicard™.” Retrieved April 17, 2008, from Visible Results
Limited. Website: http://www.visibleresults.com/loyalty/graphicard.htm