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Do you incentivize guest loyalty with branded gifts?

By Nikky Starrett, Founder of Pomp & Sass for Pomp & Sass
7 October 2021
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Everyone enjoys being appreciated. Giving gifts to guests supports your relationship with them. A good gift offers them what they value and leads to brand loyalty as well as word-of-mouth marketing. A thoughtless gift also sends a message but it’s not one we can say in polite conversion. Thoughtless gifts end up in the garbage and you will struggle to connect in your guests in a meaningful way. This article identifies how hospitality gifts support your most valuable relationships. Our goal is to achieve a strong ROI.

THE HEART OF THE MATTER
The value of branded gifts is to foster an emotional connection with your guests. In the same way we give to our loved ones, we should give guests items they want and will keep. The items becomes a precious, rare symbols of appreciation. Gifts brought home are displayed, beaconing their guests to ask where they got it. Now the host gets to show off their prize and tell the story of their time with you. When it comes to marketing, there is nothing better. On the flip side, cheap gifts that your customers don’t actually want will show them that you may not value them. The items end up wasted and so does your opportunity.

It’s common to see people having an emotional reaction to receiving a gift. Understand how to create this positive dynamic and you take control of the outcome. To begin with, we need a deep understanding of your target audience. Our goal is for the recipient to experience value recognition. Your guests will understand how important and valued they are based on the gift you give them. This may take form in different ways but first you need to understand who your guests are. Do you have a detailed target audience profile? If not, you should make one. It’s important and needs to be very detailed. Consider asking yourself why they stay with you and what interests them.

Here are some questions you should ask: do guests stay with you for the local culture? Sustainability initiatives? Luxury amenities? Membership points or for the convenience? What kind of gift will enhance their experience? How much spare room is in their luggage? What is their lifestyle? Ask insightful questions and be open to new options. Travellers want new experiences, useful items and novel items to post on social media. Understand your customer, understand their value and you will know your answer.

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CHOOSING THE RIGHT ITEM
A healthy ROI is top priority. The key to solving this puzzle lies with the people who will be receiving it. When we understand who they are and what they want, we unlock the full potential of their brand loyalty. Collect a set of keywords to outline a set of criteria your merchandise should have. For example: conscious, sustainable, lightweight, easy to pack, useful and spa quality.

A strong list of qualities for your custom merchandise will be your roadmap. Compare your options of branded merchandise next to this list. If the item doesn’t match, move on. Now is not the time to compromise. Take your time to find the correct product.

When searching for products, reach out to the associations that you are a member of. The International Luxury Hotel Association has a list of recommended suppliers. You can also seek out local artisans and companies who match your brand values. Ask your existing customers what they want via social media or surveys. There are lot’s of options, keep your list close-by.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF EXCLUSIVE BRANDED MERCHANDISE
Offering exclusive merchandise triggers a scarcity mindset within your guests. When something is only available at your location, there is a sparks of curiosity and urgency. For example: wine that is exclusive to your location must be purchased on site. Because it cannot be acquired anywhere else. Your guest have to act fast. We like having stuff the people around us can’t have. They want to know what they could have missed out on as well as bring one home for the bragging rights and prestige. Incentivize your guests to make impulse purchases. If you give these as gifts, offer these same items for sale in your profit centres. They will want to buy a few more.

Custom merchandise plays an important role with brand presence. When items are useful and beautiful they will be showcased on social media and at home. Logos becomes a point of conversation and the opportunity for word-of-mouth marketing happens. Branding represents a greater chance of your company to come up in conversation. When it does, the ROI is amplified.

Branded merchandise comes in all shapes and sizes. We aren’t restricted to pens and tote bags. There are new companies coming up with beautiful new solutions all the time. For example, there is a new emerging brand working out of Canada called Pomp & Sass. They specialize in custom luxury towels with a free customization service. They look at your target audience and design styles that your unique guests will enjoy. The logo is woven into the fabric, not printed. Guests take these towels home to use as a conversation starter. The product is also sustainable, lightweight, easy to pack and spa quality. Pomp & Sass is a small business offering sustainable, ethically made merchandise. They also donate to charities under the UN Sustainable Development Goal of well-being. Best of all, they are a supplier to the International Luxury Hotel Association.

TAKE AWAY
VIP gifts and branded merchandise support your efforts to connect with guests. Look at who you are giving to and make intentional choices that work with your marketing mix. This will foster brand loyalty and create opportunities for word-of-mouth marketing. Offer items that align with the values of your target audience. Tell them that you are listening and taking steps to walk the same journey. Show you care and your guests will add you to their list of choice brands. They won’t stay quiet about it!

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