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Brand Loyalty and Why Builders Should Think Like a Hospitality Brand

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Sales + Marketing Trends

Brand Loyalty and Why Builders Should Think Like a Hospitality Brand

Whether its offering that personal touch or incorporating experiences into amenity use, home builders have something to learn from the hospitality industry

April 15, 2024
Young couple of renters welcoming as they open the door to their apartment
Image: New Africa / stock.adobe.com

In the hospitality industry, hotels have long focused on brand development and loyalty programs to growing brand loyalty and have seen success from their efforts. Now housing providers may be taking a page from that playbook to boost customer loyalty as they try to attract new residents and ensure renewals, Multi-Housing News reports.

Panelists in a session, titled “Cracking the Customer Loyalty Code in Residential,” at the Urban Land Institute's (ULI) recent spring meeting described their successes with both rental and for-sale housing, and noted that although there are more opportunities in the luxury segment, many aspects of hospitality-industry brand-building can be applied in any housing category. 

For example, whether it's remembering a resident's birthday or keeping them informed about the status of a service request they submitted, a personal touch is important in resident interactions so staff don't miss moments that matter. This is one area where technology can really boost efficacy: An internal CRM database of resident-provided information can provide daily prompts for staff alerting them to significant resident dates and can create alerts that reduce gaps in communication about service requests so residents don't feel they've been overlooked. 

Amenities may seem a more obvious means to garner loyalty and establish brand identity, but that also requires some careful consideration. There’s been an “endless race” to add more and more amenities, noted Ricardo Suarez, group head of development for the Four Seasons, which with a 60-year-old hotel brand and a 40-year-old residential business has long studied customer preferences and applied them to housing options. But it’s important to focus on what people actually use if you want it to resonate—and in the case of rentals, if you want residents to renew.

Four Seasons can draw data from hotel amenity use, since about half of its homeowners have stayed in a Four Seasons at least 20 times before buying one of its condos and continue to choose Four Seasons hotels about twice a year. But apartment property owners that lack a hotel brand can collect data at their properties on how often an amenity is used, the type of user or usage, length of use, and preferred days and times. Incorporating emotional intelligence to make amenities “come to life,” Suarez said, is “where AI meets EI.”

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