Put yourself in a modern day traveler’s shoes – does it seem like a constant race to gain loyalty points? Have you enrolled in multiple programs but only stay devoted to a select few? Does every interaction with a hotel seem more like a transaction than a connection?

As our choices have expanded, so have our expectations; both have indubitably influenced our behaviors as consumers in some way. The ubiquitous nature of social media means expecting swift responses about our questions and needs. Disruptive business models such as Airbnb’s and design-based hostels’ afford travelers the variety, flexibility and unique experiences they now seek. Some would argue that the millennial generation’s expectations have ushered in a new path to loyalty that requires part emotion, part data science.

It’s a loyalty arms race.

In order to stay ahead, hotels must exceed basic expectations by recognizing and rewarding members for doing things they already love to do. But where to begin?

Look to your data. You’ve stored it with details from past interactions, and you can fine-tune it with further research. As your marketing team determines the types of behaviors that constitute loyalty, don’t forget the technology layer.

Using Mattr, hotels can reconcile loyalty program databases to find active members and offer them thoughtful rewards and benefits. Not only can the Mattr app pinpoint social updates that warrant a “surprise and delight,” but it can also arrange the data to prioritize communication to members with a high reach and highly relevant content. Teams with limited resources can benefit from this practical app feature.

Delight your clients.

Surprise and delight campaigns can also kickstart inactive participation and, hopefully, influence positive behavior in the future. Reactions to such campaigns can be used to improve services, evaluate new ideas, and generate renewed interest in the hotel brand.

Hotels have a unique opportunity with loyalty programs to create an emotional bond with their consumers rather than a transactional relationship. Odd as it sounds, using technology to help manage your loyalty program can help you get back to doing what those programs were originally designed to do – creating true, authentic loyalty.

Loyalty Programs Require Part Emotion, Part Data Science