Best Customer Loyalty Software for Hotels: Off-The-Shelf vs. Custom Loyalty Programs

hotel loyalty software, customer loyalty software for hotels

Implementing integrated hotel loyalty software will set the stage for significant return potential for enterprises looking to accelerate expansion in the hospitality industry. However, simply offering points or rewards will fall short of fully capitalizing on the immense value that quality hotel loyalty program software and data integration enables. When leveraged skillfully, these elements create an engine for sustainable growth.

This short guide will empower enterprise leaders across product, marketing, technology, and analytics to:

●      Assess the true potential of loyalty program solutions.

●      Understand the difference between off-the-shelf and custom solutions.

●      Begin planning execution strategy centered on data and personalization.

Many hotel customer loyalty software solutions limit programs to minor guest perks or short-term sales boosts. But the numbers reveal far greater possibilities:

●     56% of respondents from a study say rewards make them more likely to purchase from a brand.

●      Personalized rewards were identified as important to 55% of consumers surveyed.

●      Customers with an emotional relationship and those who genuinely enjoy a brand can have up to 306% higher value compared to other customers.

●      60% of loyalty program members buy more, averaging 67% more spending when stacked against non-subscribers.

●      A 5% boost in retention grows profits from 25% to 95%.

Cross-department collaboration will be required to unleash this potential and deliver an engaging, personalized platform that hotel guests truly enjoy. Let’s take a look at how it all comes together with an overview of how each department will engage or benefit from hotel loyalty program software.

Mariott’s Bonvoy app, available on Google Play and the App Store, regularly places in the top 20 free travel apps on iOS – it effectively serves as a one-stop-shop for travelers and further rewards users for booking hotel stays through the app. Image from the Apple App Store


Marketing essentially serves as the centrifuge of hotel loyalty software, as they will be responsible for working closely with all departments to execute campaigns.

By using data from data analytics teams, marketing can create personalized material to deliver to customers at established intervals and alert them when new opportunities to earn or spend rewards become available.

Your marketing team may develop strategies to promote the loyalty program, design promotional materials and communication plans, and utilize customer data for targeted marketing campaigns.


Sales departments and customer service representatives will be responsible for conveying knowledge about different promotions to prospective and established hotel customers while collecting feedback from those they engage with.

Your sales team can provide insights into customer behavior and preferences, collaborate on incentives and rewards that align with sales goals, and monitor the impact of the loyalty program software on sales.

Ideally, customer service will be able to access certain functions to make alterations, relay information to guests, and provide help when issues arise – the ability to autonomously (and securely) make changes for the sake of customer service can help ensure that engaged customers stay that way.

Similarly, sales and concierge teams should be able to interface with customer loyalty program software as well to help guide guests with buying decisions to help maximize spending while ensuring they’re making the most of their hotel rewards.

Customer Service

Customer services will often collect unique perspectives to which sales and marketing might not be privy.

Because the customer service team ensures smooth implementation of the program from a hotel guest perspective, handles customer inquiries, and resolves issues related to the program, they gather useful information about everything from technical problems to customer sentiment. These can then be used to improve the technical aspects and messaging of hotel loyalty program software.


While marketing might steer the ship, the tech department will keep it afloat while ensuring all systems are operational.

More specifically, your IT and tech teams will be implementing and maintaining the technical infrastructure of the loyalty program software and likely connecting processes and data with other systems. They ensure the security of customer data and transactions and integrate the loyalty program with other systems (e.g., CRM and POS).

They will also be responsible for helping ensure cross-department communication, for example, connecting all the tools across all departments, defining data models and events to track, maintaining data warehousing systems, etc.


Understanding outcomes and evaluating costs falls on the shoulders of finance teams, whose insights help other teams refine their operations to maximize the hotel loyalty program's effectiveness.

The finance team evaluates the financial feasibility and impact of the hotel loyalty software while monitoring the budget and financial performance of the program. By understanding the ROI and overall cost-effectiveness as well as some of the finer details (e.g., individualized performance of campaigns or products, spending on marketing, etc.), feedback from finance teams allows other teams to shift accordingly to maximize impact.

Of course, it’s often a balancing act between keeping budgets under control and satisfying hotel guests, which is why communication and good judgment will be crucial for leveraging finance data most effectively.

Data Analytics

Data that originates from every touch point with your hotel guests will prove exceptionally helpful in delivering the best possible hotel loyalty software experience.

Your data team (ideally, an independent one that’s impartial to data they securely collect) may analyze customer data to identify trends and insights, measure the effectiveness of the customer loyalty program software through key performance indicators (KPIs), and provide actionable insights for program optimization.

This data is leveraged by virtually every team – from marketing to help design better campaigns to sales to offer better guest guidance – to improve the program and ultimately, drive revenue.

Product Development

Finally, your product development organization should collaborate with internal departments on all the facets of the hotel loyalty software and its delivery, including building an initial program scope, developing new products or services that can be integrated into the loyalty program, and exploring opportunities for innovation within the program.

Your product development team will be responsible for working closely with IT and tech teams to connect processes while securely designing around feedback and data. Insights from the team will be used to introduce changes and scale or augment to facilitate new growth and retain existing hotel guests.

The Right Tools for Building Your Hotel Loyalty Program Software

Now that you understand the role each department may play and their potential technical needs, you may find that you’re not prepared to define the tools that are best for your business. While each hotel will have its own tool preferences, we’ve collected some of the leading software options for those building new hotel loyalty program solutions based on our recommendations.

CRM Software - Salesforce Hospitality Cloud, HubSpot, Zoho, Guestware

Email Marketing Software - Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, Klaviyo

Marketing Automation - HubSpot Marketing Hub, Adobe Marketo, Pardot for Salesforce

Marketing Analytics - Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Heap

Sales Analytics and Reporting - Duetto, Salesforce Sales Cloud, Tableau

Finance and Business Intelligence Apps - Oracle Hospitality, QuickBooks

Knowledge Base Software - Zendesk Help Center, Confluence, Intercom

Support Chat, Feedback, and Survey Tools Zendesk Live Chat & Messaging, Intercom Live Chat, Drift, Gorgias

Data Warehousing - Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, Segment, Google BigQuery

Testing and Validation - UserTesting, Crazy Egg, Lookback

Design and Specification - Figma, Jira, Notion, Confluence, Google Workspace

Hotel Loyalty Software: Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom Builds

Hotels are faced with a choice between off-the-shelf software and custom-building a solution using some combination of the tools and others that we’ve mentioned here.

The Leaders Club hotel loyalty program from Leading Hotels on the App Store and Google Play caters to the luxury hotel experience, providing a flexible, tiered system to collect and redeem rewards at over 400 of the finest hotels worldwide. The app also integrates with concierge services at select hotels, adding convenience and value. Image from the Apple App Store

Off-the-shelf hotel loyalty program software can be attractive for many businesses due to its immediate availability, cost-effectiveness, and proven functionality. These solutions are typically designed with best practices in mind. They can be quickly deployed, allowing businesses to launch their loyalty programs without custom software's longer development times and technical complexities.

This is especially beneficial for small to medium-sized hotel enterprises that may lack the resources for extensive custom development. In some (but not all) cases, portions of the program or data can be reused or ported for those who later decide that a custom solution would better suit their needs.

Some of the leading off-the-shelf loyalty products that hotels can use include:

Ebbo – A digital engagement platform focused on enhancing customer experiences through personalized interactions and loyalty solutions.

Talon.One – This API-based loyalty and promotions platform enables businesses to create personalized and scalable marketing campaigns.

Yotpo – An eCommerce marketing platform offering data-driven solutions for reviews, SMS, subscriptions, and loyalty programs.

Comarch – End-to-end loyalty platform covering program setup, multi-channel engagement tactics, promotions, process automation, analytics, and more within one intuitive portal

LoyaltyLion – Specialized solution for e-commerce merchants focused on data-informed rewards, referrals, emails, SMS, and VIP tiers to raise repeat purchase rates.

Cendyn – The Cendyn Hospitality Cloud provides a suite of marketing, reservations, revenue, and sales tools to hospitality brands.

Amperity – Uses AI and machine learning to compile customer data into detailed profiles that are automatically leveraged to personalize every interaction and provide analytics.

SHR – The SHR Allora CRS offers a robust, configurable platform unifying guest preferences and history into single profiles while delivering analytics on attribution, trends, and campaign performance.

While turnkey capabilities simplify deployment for out-of-the-box hotel loyalty software, product leaders must still spearhead configuration and integration initiatives to maximize long-term expansion. Many off-the-shelf solutions allow for some customization but ultimately fall short of custom solutions meant to cater to all the complexities of larger enterprises.

Final Thoughts on Hotel Loyalty Program Software

Implementing any of these tools, including off-the-shelf solutions, is still likely to require a product development organization that can integrate and set up any loyalty program software around your tailored needs to the full potential of the selected platform.

On the other hand, custom-building hotel loyalty program solutions allow for total control, allowing organizations to fine-tune all personalization aspects while enjoying uncompromising flexibility. Custom solutions allow businesses to tailor the program to their unique requirements and customer base, which is particularly advantageous for larger or more niche hotels whose specific needs might not be adequately met by generic software. If you’re seeking a partner to help integrate, get in touch with us at Studio and build with us!

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