The One Trick Brands Use to Engage With Business Travelers

When asked, frequent travelers can quickly name their top three favorite brands in the travel industry. But what makes these brands special?

learn more about Rob Connors

By Rob Connors

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When asked, frequent travelers can quickly name their top three favorite brands in the travel industry. But what makes these brands special?

It's a relatively simple concept called a "relationship." The savviest of business travelers engage with particular brands while they're traveling because those brands make them feel understood and valued through their most important asset - the loyalty club.

It all starts with the brand's loyalty club. The purpose of a loyalty club is to offer excellent service and benefits to customers. One advantage loyalty clubs give brands is the opportunity to talk to and -- most importantly -- learn about their customers. These brands frequently ask for feedback and make their customers feel important. Accruing points and using them for free services and even vacation certainly attract customers, but it's the service provided via the loyalty club that keeps business travelers coming back.

Related: 3 Keys to Measuring the Success of Your Loyalty Program

Frequent travelers expect rewards – and they like them. Loyalty clubs that understand who their most valued customers are, what they want, and what they need make the difference in retaining the loyal business traveler for a brand. For example, I frequently require a hotel reservation on short notice, and I know I can always depend on my favorite hotel to accommodate me because of my participation in its loyalty club. This same hotel also knows that I am an early riser. As a result, the hotel always places me on the executive floor close to the gym, which I frequent early in the morning. They ask for my feedback and make me feel important. Points are just too easy to replicate. It's the service and consistency provided that win my loyalty in the long run.

Related: 8 Ways for the Entrepreneurial Road Warrior to Travel Smarter

Successful brands also trust their employees. These brands empower their staff to make decisions and provide them with the freedom to offer services and benefits to their loyalty club members at any time. One of my business trips was plagued with flight delays, and I didn't have a chance to eat. When I got to the hotel, I was extremely hungry and asked the front desk staff for the available food options. There weren't any at that late hour. Ten minutes after I entered my room, I heard a knock on the door. The front desk employee was standing there with a protein bar and a banana. This small act of kindness showed he understood what I needed and was able to make a quick decision to provide a solution. Guess which hotel I always frequent as a result? The best brands recognize that exceptional service is not a "one size fits all" approach.

Business travelers frequent brands that listen and encourage them to communicate. Social channels are helpful, but loyalty clubs also provide customized member that can produce quick results. National recently surveyed VIP customers and 60 percent responded. Business executives appreciate being asked for feedback and often take the time to answer. Brands must consistently strive to get ahead of the curve. If customers see a brand stagnate, they may lose interest and patience. Smart brands conduct market research to find out what motives their target audience. It's expensive, but once a year, it's important to meet with your target audience to really talk to them and find out what makes them happy. Brands that understand what motives their customers can stay one step ahead and provide the level of service that will earn their lifelong loyalty.

Related: Traveling for Business? Consider Packing These Healthy Tips.

Rob Connors

VP of Brand Marketing for National Car Rental

Rob Connors, vice president of brand marketing for National Car Rental, has traveled all 50 states. A former “road warrior” who can pack a bag in three minutes, Connors once held elite-level status on two airlines in the same year. He once taught himself to juggle in his hotel room to relieve workday stress. Connors, who has worked in the travel industry for 20 years, drives the marketing strategy for the National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Have More Responsibilities at Work, But No Pay Bump? Use This Script to Get the Raise You Deserve.
Black and Asian Founders Face Opposition at All Levels — Here's Why That Has to Change

The Greasy, Glamorous Rise of Mascara

You won't believe the grimy gunk people used to smear on their eyelashes -- and still do.

Business News

Police: 82-Year-Old Woman Found Alive at New York Funeral Home After Being Pronounced Dead

The woman was found breathing almost three hours after she was pronounced dead.

Business News

'Our Kids Aren't Even Safe To Order Food': Mother Outraged After DoorDash Employee Uses App to Flirt With Teen Daughter

One mom is going viral on TikTok after catching a DoorDash employee attempting to flirt with her 15-year-old daughter through the messaging service provided through the platform.

Business News

An NFL Rookie Scores a $514,000 Jackpot in Las Vegas

Los Angeles Rams running back Ronnie Rivers sat down to play 3-card poker and left a half million dollars richer.

Business News

'Completely Absurd': The Average U.S. Male Can't Fit Into Universal Studio's New 'Blatantly Fatphobic' Mario Kart Ride

Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge formally opens to the public as a part of Super Nintendo World inside of Universal Studios Hollywood on February 17.

Business Ideas

How to Make Thousands of Dollars on the Side As a Virtual Assistant

Apply your skills and experience to create a lucrative virtual assistant side hustle or full-time business.