On a recent trip to the Boston area, I was lucky enough to get a low rate to stay at the Le Meridién hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As I was settling into the room, I noticed a card advertising a program they’re offering. The program offered me the option of not having the regular daily housekeeping service for my room and, in exchange, they were offering a $5 voucher that could be used in the hotel restaurant or bar. Furthermore, if I didn’t want or wasn’t able to use that, I had the option of redeeming any of my vouchers at the end of my stay for 500 bonus points in their guest rewards program. As a loyal Starwood Preferred Guest program member, I was very excited about this. I knew I’d barely be using the room other than for sleeping and showering. I was only there for a two night stay and I often opt to not have my sheets or towels washed anyway. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal at all for me to simply make the bed myself if I wanted it made, and the rest didn’t really matter. Besides that, at three points per dollar, I would be earning fewer than 500 points per night based on my nightly rate. It seemed like a great bonus and I jumped on the opportunity. I found myself hoping that the hotel that I’ve been staying in regularly for work on a client project would start offering the same thing.
This is a great example of how offering choices to a customer can really enhance customer loyalty and repeat buying. Because of this program, this will be the first hotel I look into the next time I travel to Boston. Interestingly enough, the $5 restaurant voucher or the 500 points probably even have a much lower cost to the hotel than that of daily housekeeping service for a room, especially when you take into account the housekeeping labor, laundry costs, and supplies. This is a great lesson that what something may cost an organization doesn’t necessarily translate dollar for dollar in terms of value to a customer. By offering customers a choice, you not only increase their satisfaction by giving them something that’s of value or important to them, sometimes you can actually save money because some customers will choose an option that has a lower cost than the standard service.