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How Apps Can Create Customer Loyalty in Hospitality

Read our latest article to discover how your hospitality app can help drive customer loyalty and ensure the future success of your business.

How Apps Can Create Customer Loyalty in Hospitality

A brand app can be an immensely beneficial asset for a hospitality business. It can improve the customer experience, it shows that the business is modern and tech-driven, and most importantly, it can help build customer loyalty. However, these only apply if your hospitality app is well-designed and functional.

In this article, we’ll explain exactly how apps tie into customer loyalty in hospitality and the features an app needs to have to effectively create loyalty among your customer base. First, we’ll provide a brief overview of the “loyalty landscape” in hospitality, looking at the benefits of loyalty for hotels and restaurants and the part digital products can play in their loyalty strategies. Then, we’ll explain some of the key functions a hospitality app needs to drive loyalty. 

The Customer Loyalty Landscape in Hospitality

Customer loyalty has always been a major goal for hospitality businesses, but their methods for building loyalty have changed over the years.

As technology develops, digital products have proven themselves to be the most valuable tools for both hotels and restaurants in the hospitality sector. For example, online sign-ups to the loyalty programmes of significant hotel brands have increased by 35% over the last year. While this only refers to website registrations, many brands are choosing to double down by also developing a branded hospitality app to host their loyalty programs.

Restaurant hospitality apps are enjoying a similar level of success. A 2023 Deloitte survey found that 47% of restaurant loyalty programme members use their memberships several times a month, and almost a third (32%) do so several times a week. This demonstrates the key victory that businesses are looking for when it comes to customer loyalty in hospitality: consistent, repeat business.

Restaurants are also a rare exception when it comes to loyal customers wishing to be contacted by a business. According to the 2023 Optimove Consumer Marketing Fatigue Survey, 73% of consumers would prefer to receive fewer marketing messages. However, a survey by restaurant tech developers HungerRush finds that 62% of consumers would actually prefer that restaurants they visit frequently provide communications, so long as those communications are personalised.

Creating Loyalty With Hospitality Apps

Provide a Great Digital Experience

A staggering 70% of food orders occur on a mobile device. As such, it’s important that your hospitality app offers a streamlined purchasing experience. If it’s slow, confusing, or has significant technical issues, it harms customer loyalty and drives away business.

Outsource the development to experts to ensure your app performs well. Future Platforms has considerable experience creating hospitality apps, from Domino’s Pizza to Leon.

If you want to invest in revitalising your brand app, you may also want to consider updating other digital aspects of your business (such as your website or social media) so everything aligns. A fresh, effective app could be the first step in a revolutionary digital transformation strategy.

Personalisation

Personalisation is a powerful tool for building customer loyalty in hospitality. Loyal customers are much more likely to return if they’re sent personalised discount codes. If they return, their purchases will also provide you with the necessary data to create even more personalised offers.

If you have the resources, consider using AI tools to help with personalisation. AI-powered data analysis can produce much more accurate conclusions than the manual equivalent. Linking AI and the customer experience can be a winning combination when it comes to brand loyalty.

Build a Community

Building a community through your hospitality app can be an effective way to increase customer retention. While it’s unlikely you’ll get much conversation between individual customers (as with community building for most other industries), you can make app users feel like they are part of an exclusive group, which can increase engagement with your brand and boost loyalty.

But how do you help that community take root and grow? We’ve provided a few examples below:

  • Ask app users their opinions on menu choices or similar low-level business decisions.
  • Organise online or in-person events for community members, or offer early access to public events.
  • Demonstrate customer appreciation often by thanking customers for their custom.

Embrace Simplicity

Brand apps are highly effective, and new functions are always being developed, but the concept itself is a decade old at this point. As such, consumers will likely be familiar with the basics of your hospitality app before they even download it — there will be a way to place orders or book rooms, a customer service portal, and potentially an integrated loyalty programme that includes a points system or rewards.

Our advice? Keep it simple. Stick to the basics we listed above, or your customers may be confused by the layout of your app. Confused customers are unlikely to become loyal. Additionally, if you start simple, be wary of making significant changes, or you may drive away loyal customers who are used to the original layout.

That being said, it’s also important to consistently measure customer loyalty to ensure that a simple, straightforward interface is what your customers want. Although simplicity is broadly appealing, some customers may want more depth from your hospitality app.

Build the Perfect Hospitality App With Future Platforms

Looking to build an appealing, engaging digital platform for your hospitality business? Look no further. Future Platforms are expert web designers and app developers, and can assist you in creating a groundbreaking new hospitality app.

We understand what an app needs to do to create and maintain loyalty, and we can help ensure those functions are implemented into any digital product you need.

If you want to learn more about our services, don’t hesitate. Get in touch.