An online hotel referral program will let you utilize your happy customers to get you more customers.
It lets your services create advocates for your hotel. These advocates will refer your hotel to others which will lead to the influx of more customers.
In a referral program, you incentivize your current happy customers to create word of mouth for your hotel.
This will increase customer acquisition and retention in your hotel.
As we all know that a happy customer is the best source of marketing. But customers so not advertise your hotel for free most of the time.
So designing an online hotel referral program is an important part of your overall marketing campaign.
Now here are 5 steps you need to take to create an online hotel referral program
Step 1: Define the goal of your online hotel referral program
The first task we do in any marketing campaign is to define a goal. Without a solid goal, we will be shooting in the dark. All the steps required in a marketing campaign are based on the goal itself.
A referral program can get you more bookings and increase your customer retention and overall loyalty. You need to ask yourself what your business needs at that moment.
Are you creating a referral program in order to keep your guests in a relation with you even after they left or you want to get more new bookings?
After that, you will have to give some numbers to your goals like ROI you expect or the number of bookings you want. Be very realistic with this task.
This final goal will give you the direction to get the further plan in motion and then at the end analyze the result and success of the program.
Step 2: Set up the reward you are offering
An incentivized referral program is a “give and take” sort of program. Your referral has to get something back from the deal.
So the next question that you need to answer is what you are going to offer. Are you going to offer direct cash rewards or some other non-cash benefits?
Non-cash benefits are proven to have better results than direct cash rewards. But the decision is very subjective and depends on the business situation and goal of the program.
Non-cash incentives will mean discount coupons, virtual cash, or reward points that can be used in making future bookings in your hotel.
Now the size of these incentives has to be derived in order to get a substantial and tangible ROI.
So you need to decide will the reward be based on the number of booking a referrer is getting or the revenue generated from those bookings.
Then how many reward points or how much cash a referrer will get per booking or per dollar you make from their referrals.
Step 3: Create the look and feel of your online hotel referral program
Once you have determined the goal to achieve and an incentive to offer then it is the time to define the look and feel of your program.
What it is going to be like, what message will it send out, what it will be called and how it will convert the happy customers. All of this has to be decided.
This referral program will be an introduction to your hotel to your referrals. So the look and feel will say a lot about your hotel.
So you will have to design the referral program that sends out a good message to referrals and most importantly, it converts.
The name of your referral program should be catchy along with a tagline. The success of your program will depend on how much it can attract.
The headline should inform about your program, the incentive it includes and should have an invitation.
Then you should include the trust and reach of social platforms in order to make things more authentic. This will also make it easy for the referrers to share the program.
Step 4: Its time to promote
After designing everything it time to promote your referral program. Just like your hotel, only creating service is not sufficient you need to promote it. The same goes for referral programs.
Once you have created the referral program you need can’t for people just come and opt for it. You will have to make them do it.
A referral program promotion is not as much different from product promotion. You will have to follow the same practices.
Time-based emails are very effective in the promotion of a referral program. Once there is a guest in your hotel and you have his email then you will have to target that customer to be your brand advocate.
Send him a mail a few days after his visit offering a discount for his next visit or any other kind of reward if he refers you to his friends.
You can also share your referral program on social media in order to take more coverage.
Step 5: Prepare to collect the stats
The last thing that you have to do before launching your referral program is to set up the tools that are needed to record the stats related to your referral program.
This is very crucial for your referral program’s success. If you do not have the proper stats then you will never know how your referral program working.
You can use tools like Google Analytics to gather the data. Then you will know which of your promotion channel is working. From which channel you are getting most of the referrals.
You will also have to keep a check on the ROI. Analyze if you are generating enough revenue or you need to adjust the incentives offered.
Referrals programs have the ability to do a lot of good for your hotel. They will get you both the revenue and loyal customers.
So these were the 5 steps that you should take before launching your referral program.
I hope this article will help you out.
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