How to Drive Repeat Business with VIP Incentives

Everyone wants to feel like a VIP, right? When a customer learns about a special sale, gets priority seating on a plane or has access to a shorter line at their favorite coffee shop or hotel, they feel like they’re part of an elite club.

Research shows consumers respond to these kinds of incentives when they’re part of a small business loyalty program. A survey from Technology Advice shows 56.8% of consumers are more likely to participate in loyalty programs if they can get exclusivity-based rewards. And we all know, the more loyalty program members you gain, the more repeat business you’ll see (at least 2x more).

Wondering how to incorporate VIP perks into your loyalty program? We’ll help you think of some creative ways to add status perks to your program:

Notable loyalty programs with VIP incentives

To draw inspiration for exclusive rewards, let’s look at some of the more notable programs that use an elevated status as a pillar of its loyalty program:

  • Delta

Delta’s Sky Priority program offers elite members an exclusive reservation line, faster check-in and accelerated security lines. Plus, members get to board the plane first and avoid waiting in a long line to get to their seat.

  • Starbucks

Starbucks Rewards gives its members the ability to order and pay ahead on their phone and access to member-exclusive events.

  • Marriott

The more you stay at Marriott, the higher your status goes. As customers climb the loyalty ladder, they gain access to a concierge room with free food and drinks, room upgrades and access to discounted vacation packages.

How to add VIP perks to your program

Many of the loyalty programs that offer VIP perks are in the travel industry, so many small businesses aren’t sure how to make them work for their niche.

When customers earn a certain amount of points, grant them an elevated status. Customers with a gold status, for example, could get access to the following VIP perks:

  • Priority checkout

Waiting in long lines is a hassle for customers, so consider creating a line that caters to those with the highest status.

  • Priority parking

Is your parking lot a little crazy? Give VIPs access to the front three spots nearest your door.

  • Double points

Once a customer hits your gold status, consider offering double points to show your appreciation. It provides bigger, better rewards to those who shop with you the most. If offering double points is a little drastic, consider offering double points only on certain days of the week.

  • Holiday perks

When the holidays roll around, offer your most loyal customers perks like free gift wrapping or shipping. Incentives like this might seem small, but customers respond to top-notch customer service.

  • Exclusive events

Invite VIPs to special events. You can keep it simple, and invite them to a special sale or an opportunity to shop after hours. Service-based businesses can treat VIPs to an outing, like a round of golf or a wine tasting. These events are more about showing appreciation and getting to know the MVPs of your customer base than they are about sales.

Why VIP perks are enticing

There are books upon books that explain the psychology behind status symbols and VIP treatment, but the bottom line is simple: everyone likes to feel special.

Creating exclusive benefits within a loyalty program builds a relationship with your most loyal customers and sends a message of appreciation.

When other customers see the perks that VIPs get, they’ll be curious. For instance, they’ll ask who gets to park in the “Reserved for Gold Members” parking spots outside, or inquire about accessing the VIP checkout line.

It provides businesses with a great opportunity to talk about their loyalty program, and get more customers to move into the VIP category. Research shows 50 percent of consumers have increased their spending or changed purchasing behavior in order to achieve a higher status within a loyalty program.

Keeping your loyalty program diverse

A valuable loyalty program offers a variety of incentives to keep customers coming back. While we encourage businesses to add a few VIP incentives, remember, it’s just one piece of your rewards structure.

As customers earn points, your program should have a combination of money-saving rewards and VIP perks. From BOGO deals to priority checkouts, diversity is important in your rewards structure.

To learn more about creating a structure that works for you and your business, check out this post, “What Do Customers Really Want from a Loyalty Program?”

Tell us how you add VIP incentives into the structure of your loyalty program. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Lisa Furgison
About the Author
Lisa Furgison

Lisa is a writer at FiveStars, a freelance journalist, and co-owner of a media company, McEwen's Media.

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