Why did I decide to cut my Sava Hotels loyalty card in half?

Igor Pauletič / / CRM

I carry 9 plastic cards at any time in my wallet: my ID card, health insurance card, personal bank debit card, and bank cards for FrodX and Povej šefu (both companies I’m CEO of), Mercator Pika loyalty card, the yearly Golf club Bled membership card and two more loyalty cards. The first by Cool House and the second by Sava Hotels. Quite a lot of plastic I believe.

I often wonder how convenient it would be to join them all in one universal card or in a phone app. I have also thought about getting rid of some of them. This time I realized that one of them brings no benefits at all – it only widens my wallet.

Let me begin by saying that I have been a moderately satisfied customer of Sava Hotels for a number of years. We spend at least one of our family vacations every year at their Livada Moravci or Primus Ptuj hotels. The combination of golfing, pools, the vicinity and the relatively moderate price of this combination keep bringing us to one of these hotels.

Two years ago I published a post about my idea of check-in in a five star hotel (Livada is categorized as a five star hotel) and why CRM is important for good customer service in tourism. Even if I overreacted in my wishes as a regular customer then, this time my experience has ticked me off to the point where I started thinking whether I even need my Sava Hotels loyalty card.

A loyalty card should get you something that isn’t available to those who don’t have it. Click To Tweet

How I figured out that the Sava Hotels loyalty card benefits no one

Even though I booked my room by email and paid the advance payment for the reservation (This is something you simply don’t demand from loyal customers. We’ve never been asked for this until now – even though we never canceled a reservation.), the receptionist asked me two questions that they’re not supposed to ask someone with their loyalty card. When I introduced myself stating my name and last name and said that I have reserved 4 days of half board for 5 people, they asked me the following questions:

  1. “Is this your first stay here?”
  1. “Could I please have your IDs, so I can check you in?”

I handed my loyalty card to the receptionist and asked whether all of this is not in the computer system and added:

“I feel like these two questions are not suitable for a regular customer that reserved a room in advance and handed their loyalty card.”

The lady at the counter seemed to be confused by my comment. She said she needed our ID cards and not loyalty cards, so I didn’t ask her whether they prepare for expected guests who have reservations. Why didn’t they prepare all the check-in information before I arrived? If housekeeping can clean and prepare the rooms for guests, the receptionists should also do their homework in advance. In my company, the employees must do their homework before they meet any customer. I am not sure why this isn’t required from a hotel clerk.

Loyalty card

When is it beneficial to own a loyalty card?

Only when it provides something that those without it do not have and have to earn. If it does not provide any exclusivity, it lacks charm. A quantity discount is often not reason enough.

Well, the provider also needs it so they can identify you as a buyer. Not everyone has such simple ways to do that as hoteliers.

Loyal customers should be treated as they deserve – exclusively. Click To Tweet

What exclusive services could a hotel offer selected guests?

Tourism offers plenty of opportunities for exclusive offers. A voucher for visiting an oil mill or wine cellar that provides a special pumpkin seed oil or cuvee for loyal customers of Sava Hotels could be handed at check-in and a small bottle with a sample of this “exclusive” oil or wine could be handed to the guest at check-out. Or a special kind of dessert that is not normally available and that can be followed by a story – we could ask loyal customers whether they would like to have such a dessert the next time they visit. A stuffed toy (hotel mascot) could be available for the kids or chef’s praline for the wives of business travelers. Maybe a beginner’s course of Thai massage in the wellness area would make my day or at least encourage me to go there, so I can spend some more money. In any case, the goal is to draw customers even closer to you, engage them, reward them and get them to recommend you. Give them a feeling of special treatment. “Loyalty drinks” and a small discount do not achieve this. At least not for me.

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