There are few names in the business world that hold quite as much weight as Donald Trump. A man of seemingly endless success, Trump has carved out empires in numerous industries,  including real estate, entertainment and merchandise. 

One of Trump’s greatest business successes is his lucrative stake in the hotel industry.  A preeminent developer of luxury hotels around the world — he currently owns eight hotels on three continents — the Trump name is directly associated with superior quality. 

At the center of Trump’s success in the highly competitive hotel industry is his loyalty and rewards program, TRUMP CARD.

"Building customer loyalty in the hotel industry is notoriously difficult. This is due, in part, because customers are much more driven by price than loyalty when it comes to selecting a hotel."

Through a combination of innovation, generosity, and overall effectiveness, Trump’s program is driving customer loyalty through the roof and setting the bar for the rest of the hotel industry.

Surpassing expectations

Building customer loyalty in the hotel industry is notoriously difficult. This is due, in part, because customers are much more driven by price than loyalty when it comes to selecting a hotel. 

So what’s the secret to creating loyalty programs that build enduring relationships with their customers? According to Trump, it’s about surpassing your customers’ expectations.

“If the program meets their needs and expectations — and beyond — they will be loyal,” says Trump. “Our guests most often comment on the personalized service they receive from us. It’s clear they remember that and so we are always on the lookout for ways to please them. It doesn’t go unnoticed. We make them feel special because they are special,  and that is appreciated.”

This is one of the central tenets of loyalty and rewards programs: When customers feel valued, they are more likely to do repeat business with you.  Indeed, making customers feel valued is a tremendous step in building customer loyalty. 

Communicating with your customers

A successful loyalty program doesn’t simply offer generous rewards, it also interacts with and learns from its customers. Indeed, the more information a program can gather about its customers, the more it can be customized to suit each customer’s specific needs. 

“Always consider your customer first. Know the demographics. Know their business, their requirements, their family size, and so on. Get as much information as possible and cover their bases for them,” says Trump. “That’s what helps them out,  and in so doing, will help you out as well.”

The importance of anticipation

A high repeat guest percentage is something that every hotel strives to achieve. But in the competitive hotel industry, enticing guests to return to your hotel takes a great deal more than a fluffy pillow and a “we hope to see you again soon” at checkout. 

When considering his loyalty program’s impressive performance, Trump emphasizes the importance of anticipation.

“The programs are designed to keep customers coming back,” says Trump. “The programs have been effective this way, and it also makes our lives easier. We can update our customer profiles and keep up with demands as well as anticipate them. Anticipating them is important.  It proves we are thinking of them.”

Looking forward

Trump is as busy as ever. He is currently developing hotels in Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro and Washington D.C. His hotel in Baku,  Azerbaijan is slated to open in 2015.

When asked about his forecast on the future of loyalty and rewards programs, he responds by saying: “They attract a lot of people. I think they’ll continue to flourish.”