During a recent workshop, I did with a hotel, I analysed the different customer journey phases and identified the strategies, tools and spend of every phase of the customer journey; a refreshing exercise I can recommend all distribution gurus to do by the way. Something that struck me during this exercise, was how many similarities there are between our personal relationships and our professional ones

If we look at the guest journey cycle for our hotels we can identify different phases, let’s focus on the main ones.

Acquisition – Stay at the hotel – Loyalty

Due to the growing complexity of the distribution landscape and the rising distribution costs, the acquisition phase has become a very expensive and complex phase, where we spend most of our times taking, planning and strategising about. As well as the phase were most of our Sales & Marketing budgets go to, in our case even up to 75%

But hey, we got the guest in our hotel room, so there is an ROI on our efforts, right?

Then, the guest stays at our hotel. The phase we hoteliers were traditionally known for. As nothing can beat a professional hospitality mind set, is what I learned at hotel school. But guess what, my neighbour who rents his house on AirBnB seems to be able to beat my ‘professional hospitality mind set’ As his reviews about his hosting skills are at least as good, arguable even better, then ours in our hotels.

Here comes the comparison with my personal relationship, let’s call it the husband journey

My husband journey goes something like this:

Dating – We are a couple – The ring!

I notice, in the crowd of potential male candidates, my future husband. We start dating, and my spend goes up: we go out for dinners – ok he pays most of them – but I do really need to buy a new dress for the first date and second and third, an extra visit to the hairdresser… I spend as well quite some time and lots of efforts in the acquisition phase of the husband journey; not only on the actual dates, but as well on getting ready for the date, analysing afterwards with the friends what he said and didn’t say…you get it, quiet some strategising there (Acquisition phase)

And before you know, phase two kicks in and We are a couple. (Stay at hotel phase) He is mine, my efforts and spend in this phase go back down from obsessive to ‘normal’. However, as well as our AirBnB competitor, I have competition as well: there are still a lot of other woman in my category hunting on the ‘man’ fields. But more important, I am just really enjoying this relationship, so will do everything to make this work (is my hospitality mind set kicking in here?)

Other than many of our customer journeys, my husband journey does not stop after the second phase. I continue to invest in our relationship and we are getting closer. And then, after 10 years there is The Ring! (Loyalty phase)

We should do the same in our hotels. Our relationship with our customers should not stop the moment they check out. If you want to create loyalty, investments need to be made in all phases of the customer journey and surely not stop after a night in our hotel.

Do you have a loyalty strategy in place?

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