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Hotel loyalty scheme disconnected from reality - Gerry Brown - Blog

Hotel loyalty scheme disconnected from reality

I checked into the Novatel hotel in Newcastle recently and after the basic pleasantries and confirmation of my reservation, I was handed a blank registration form to fill in with all my personal data. No real surprise there except that I’m an Accor A-Club silver member and all of this data is on file already! So why, I asked the receptionist, did I have to do it all again?

As I guess I’m one of the few people to actually speak up she seemed surprised by my response as I’m sure most people,  just roll over and even apologise for causing any trouble!


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As she appeared to be a quick study, and sensibly didn’t push it, said she would get the information from the system, but didn’t seem to get why I might be upset. It’s quite simple. Having to fill or provide data, as with many call centre interactions, that a company already has in their CRM system, just screams incompetence, is a total waste of time for both parties, and a major contributor for customer dissatisfaction.


One of the main reasons I sign up for “loyalty” programs, and I do use the term loosely, is so that I can make the transaction as fast and painless as possible. But the most obvious issue, and what loyalty should be all about, is that the hotel clearly knew nothing about me before I arrived and consequently wouldn’t be able to accommodate any special requests, low floor, not near a lift, doesn’t like waiters named Manuel etc, and even more importantly, lose any opportunity to “Wow” me.


Legendary customer experience stories about hotels are usually all about fantastic memories generated from the fact that a guest is known, recognized or remembered, from a trip many months or years ago and are “welcomed” back. What chance did the Novatel have to do this, even in the most basic of ways, “Welcome back Mr.Brown?”


This is a great, and relatively simple, opportunity for a hotel to make an immediate deposit into the customer experience account. So it’s truly amazing that this most simple of data base issues, the ability to transfer the guest data from the reservation system to the hotel, is one that I run into quite often. Not so much with the really great hotel brands, but quite often with those on the fringes and perhaps whose typical customers are less demanding.


Here’s what hotel chains need to do.

  1. Make      sure the online registration system is connected to the hotel system
  2. If      not, ensure that the loyalty card is “smart” enough to be scanned on-site
  3. Have      regular and loyalty program customers’ portfolios ready to go on check-in


As with most customer experiences, it’s about expectations, and mine, if I’ve taken the time to sign up for a program, and given a hotel my business on a regular basis, are that you at least recognize me. Clearly this hotel brand is unable to meet those expectations so the next form I fill out for them will be a pink slip!


Publish Date: September 23, 2011 4:24 PM

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