Since the pandemic began, many brands have been playing from behind due to store closings, a massive shift to online purchases, and limitless consumer options.
While loyalty was hard for brands in the past, it’s even harder now.
At Best Western, listening to customer voices and issues has always been a top priority. The pandemic magnified that point.
For the past seven years, the Best Western Rewards loyalty program has earned a top-five ranking in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hotel Rewards Programs list.
Best Western officials know how to effectively listen to their customers, identify their pain points, and address them.
Since the pandemic started, they have also led with empathy and care.
Earning Loyalty Rewards Faster
To show its empathy and care for its loyal customers, Best Western recently announced that its BWR program is cutting its Elite Status eligibility qualifications in half for 2021.
This allows travelers worldwide to earn Elite Status with just five nights, three stays, or 5,000 points. Also, the reduction in thresholds applies to each BWR Elite Status tier, which makes it easier for guests to move up the loyalty ladder.
Tammy Lucas, Vice President of Marketing for Best Western Hotels & Resorts, talked to us about this key decision.
“As a brand, we have always been focused on the voices of our customers and ensuring that we are keeping their needs at the forefront of the business and program decisions we make,” Tammy explained. “In today’s environment, this is even more imprinted for us.”
Tammy said this allows Best Western to show customers how much it cares and appreciates their loyalty, by providing a fair value proposition.
“As we continue to monitor our current Rewards Members travel behaviors, as well as balance current customer insights, we wanted to show our Rewards members that we are empathetic to their current situation and offer them an attainable Elite status benefit when they are ready to travel again,” Tammy added.
Focusing on Your Customers All the Time
Since COVID-19 started in the U.S. almost a year ago, consumer behavior has certainly been impacted and this move by Best Western truly shows it focuses and cares about its customers.
“Our goal is to continue to show our customers just how much we care and that we truly are all in this together,” Tammy explained. “We want to inspire our customers to travel again, when they are ready, and show them that we will be here for them, excited to welcome them back.”
Tammy said the company wanted to make sure its customers weren’t penalized for the changes in their travel behavior, which was outside of their control.
“Not only have we extended our current Rewards customers Elite Status until 2022, but we also wanted to provide a strong incentive for new and existing customers staying with us, who were not currently Elite Members with us,” Tammy added.
Focus on your customers every step of the loyalty journey. Understand their needs and values. Make your loyalty program about your customers and they will engage with it and spread your message.
Best Western’s Loyalty Program Tagline Really Fits
Best Western Rewards rebranded its tagline to “Because We Care About Rewarding You” to emphasize how its perks are driven by Best Western’s foundational commitment to caring for guests.
In the past year, the company launched an industry-leading cleaning program, We Care Clean, which delivers an enhanced commitment to keeping guests safe and healthy when staying at Best Western-branded hotels across North America.
“We have always been a very caring brand and our vision has been to lead the industry in superior customer care, which includes ensuring an optimized clean stay along with authentic customer care,” Tammy said. “Taking care of our guests, especially our Rewards guests, through an authentic and humanizing approach, this has been the guiding principle of our loyalty program and our brand for many years.”
Tammy said that Best Western has one of the strongest loyalty programs in the industry, which includes its current Elite promotion, strong seasonal promotions and member rate offerings, a focus on delivering strong property recognition even behind the mask, and one of the most important benefits which is that your rewards points never expire.
“These are a few ways we show our rewards members just how much we really do care about them and how much we value their business,” Tammy added. “It’s been a really tough time for everyone, and we want to do our part in trying to find ways to make it better, for everyone.”
Leading With Empathy
Bu cutting elite status eligibility qualifications in half for its customers in 2021, Best Western showed its helping customers receive rewards faster.
Company officials, as Tammy noted, are leading with empathy toward their customers. Best Western has always done this but has made it a larger priority since the pandemic started.
For Tammy’s thoughts on loyalty moving forward in 2021, check out our recent interview with Tammy Lucas.