Cultivating Customer Loyalty in an Evolving World

The question is, how do you build that loyalty and promote its longevity in your relationship with your customers?

The past few months have been a learning experience for everyone in the hospitality sector. We’ve all faced unprecedented challenges that we’re still navigating through. However, it’s important to also recognize what we’ve gained from this experience. Notably, we have been reminded of the intrinsic value of customer loyalty and having a positive business/consumer relationship. As consumer trends prove to be in flux, we believe it is a time for nurturing the humanistic side to business. There has never been a better time to nurture our relationship with our customers and rebuild our industry together.

The question is, what does customer loyalty look like and how do we develop it effectively?

From our experience, customer loyalty is typically formed when a business provides a consistent positive experience for a patron. Firstly, this is developed through the duality of a high quality product and a high quality service. It is then perpetuated through thoughtful interaction and an evoked trust between brand and consumer. This interaction is typically conducted through a dynamic marketing strategy.

In the hospitality industry there are various marketing methods for cultivating customer loyalty that we have seen implemented with great success. Some of these include:

Establishing a Connection: Cultivating a strong relationship with guests has been proven to bring longevity and prosperity to hotels and restaurants. Digital media is a highly effective way to build that relationship through interaction and connection. Particularity in our post-COVID world, it will be important to listen to guests, for instance, asking them about their anxieties regarding returning to restaurants or hotels and tailoring your marketing approach to address those worries. Creativity will be the key to successfully engaging with both existing customers and potential new ones.

Offering Rewards: Loyalty programs are a standard method of customer retention, and these programs can bring great returns when guests are aware of them and they are well thought out. A customer loyalty survey of 4,000 participants, recently conducted by Deloitte, concluded that 71% of participants would sign up to the loyalty program affiliated with their most frequented restaurant - if they were given the option. The survey also highlighted the volume of people who were unaware of the existence of a loyalty program at their favourite eateries. Another study conducted by RetailWire showed that fewer than 25% of consumers are currently “very satisfied” with loyalty programs. Recognizing this as an opportunity to satisfy your customers’ desire for brand connection could significantly build your business during this turbulent time. This also relates to the point above; communicating purposely with your customers about promotions and initiatives can create an engaged community, while simultaneously driving sales.

JRoss recognizes the need for experienced and creative marketing professionals to build customer loyalty in the hospitality industry. In response, our team has proactively connected with hundreds of highly experienced marketers from Canada’s largest service sectors — retail and hospitality — to gain a sense of the currently available talent with the right skills. To share what we’ve found, we’ve included some sample profiles below of leaders in developing and implementing customer-focused programs.

These candidates represent some of Canada’s top hospitality consumer loyalty professionals. Their profiles show the kind of skills and experience that restaurant, hotel and other hospitality organizations will need to develop and strengthen their connections to customers and guests. They may match yours, or you may discover you have transferrable skills. Hospitality professionals will be needed in other areas as well. If you focus on another field within hospitality, these profiles may give you some ideas regarding where you can add value as Canada’s hospitality industry re-opens.

Managing Director, Marketing and Loyalty – Food Service and Tourism — Toronto

This collaborative leader utilizes their deep understanding of data and their ability to influence positive change to unlock the power of consumer loyalty. They come with a proven track record for successfully adapting and implementing best practices acquired through diverse brand, marketing and communications strategies. Their experience combines success in the CPG, Food Service, Retail, Entertainment and Tourism industries in Canada and internationally. Armed with an MBA with a marketing specialization, they have extensive consulting experience, some of which involved creating a strategic roadmap to articulate the Canadian loyalty landscape, define trends, and understand usage and consumer behaviours. They’ve helped generate over $25M in incremental revenues for over twelve brands by leveraging leadership, brand building and marketing strategy expertise. A visionary in their field, this candidate has a track record for success in influencing even the most resistant stakeholders to align with their brands.

Manager, Loyalty Marketing – Hotel - Toronto

This leading-edge, loyalty-focused candidate is an established hospitality marketing professional. With over ten years of hotel industry experience in increasingly progressive marketing roles, they are well versed in crafting and executing integrated loyalty strategies. They have contributed to the development and global execution of several leading membership/club program launches, including membership kit development, email content creation, website updates, and online member brochures. They have proven success building strong and distinguished strategic plans that continue to drive customer engagement and acquisition, while always ensuring their brand loyalty programs consistently deliver the best rewards, perks and benefits to members. They’ve led cross-functional teams and worked with some of the best creative agencies, external vendors and partner brands to deliver world class programs. As a loyalty expert who can implement national or global initiatives to grow a member base, ranging from hotel level enrollment contests to a mass awareness and acquisition campaigns, this candidate can deliver.

Manager, Email, CRM and Loyalty – Travel and Tourism — Vancouver

This award-winning candidate has over ten years of experience as a digital marketing professional. They have extensive knowledge of multiple modern marketing disciplines including email marketing, digital marketing, marketing automation, customer relationship marketing, social media, integrated marketing planning, event planning, and communications. This loyalty and marketing automation leader has navigated these fields in both B2B and B2C organizations with some of Canada’s leading travel and tourism and cruise line operators. A strong advocate for continuous improvement and professional development, this candidate has attended numerous marketing and technology focused conferences across North America to stay on top of trends and technological innovation. Their extensive education and experience has given them the proven ability to plan and execute international customer facing strategic initiatives together with the corresponding management of promotions and loyalty campaigns for past guest touch points and treatment, strategic customer segmentation, development prospecting and lead management.

Director, Digital Marketing, Growth and Loyalty – Restaurant & Food Service — Toronto

As Marketing Director for one of North America’s fastest growing fast casual chains, this innovative digital marketing strategist is currently delivering a best-in-class omnichannel experience (website, social, paid, ecommerce, app), that is actively growing top line sales. They’ve developed the strategy and managed the digital ecosystem for 400+ locations including both corporate and franchise settings. They’re innately analytical, and base their business approach on data and facts. They also understand the validity of the human experience, and actively use it to amplify accumulated data. They helped develop and currently drive their current brand’s regional analytics data strategy and analysis, including data capture and enhancement, to enable world-class analytics and CRM operations. Understanding the value of consumer loyalty, this leading edge candidate has also built a highly successful mobile app loyalty program. With an empathic and humble approach to business, they understand that building the right team is critical to a company’s success. They have a zest for life and business, and are a high energy leader who does not settle for the status quo. Overall, they operate best in a corporate culture that values honesty, integrity, and transparency.

To learn more on this and other hospitality trends and insights you can check out our blog.

Written by Jessica Finch.