Pablo Delgado4 minutes read

Book & Join, a key feature of your loyalty program

En españolen françaisem português.

book and join loyalty program mirai

The loyalty programs of the largest hotel brands in the world, such as Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton, all share a common functionality: “book & join” or the ability to join the loyalty program while making the first reservation and without diverting to a different funnel where there is a greater chance that your guest will drop out.

book join mirai

Increasing your customer database quickly is one of the most challenging parts for any marketer. After all, what’s the point of building customer loyalty and creating a program if you don’t have any registered customers?

Big differences in how you get customers to sign up during the booking process

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • Booking engines that divert customers to a different funnel where they sign up for your program before making a booking, including the cumbersome email validation process, convert only 20-40% of first-time bookers into members (a disappointing figure considering most special member rates have some kind of discount associated with them). Have you ever wondered why those 60% of customers don’t sign up and refuse that discount? Something is wrong there.
  • Booking engines that allow customers to sign up for your loyalty program at the time of booking (“book & join”) convert over 90% of first-time bookers into members. This not only triples the growth of your database, it also increases your conversion rate, as price competitiveness is the main driver of bookings.

If your hotel is in the first group, consider switching to the second group as soon as possible, as you’re losing prospective club members and, worse still, bookings. Just follow these four simple guidelines:

  1. Display members’ rates to non-members

The first part of the plan to convince your customers is to show your membership rates to everyone, regardless of whether they have signed up or not, and to highlight benefits such as discounts, exclusive services, etc. In addition, you have to inform them that the rates displayed are exclusive to members, and explain what it means to become a member.

exclusive mirai members only rates

simple rates display mirai

Be very careful how you display your members’ rates, as it is easy to over-complicate the results page with dozens of different prices, either in different colors or crossed out. Avoid price “fairs”. Keep it simple, so as not to confuse your customers and reduce conversion.

  1. Merge “book” and “join” actions into one step

Once a customer is willing to book at your club member rate, it’s up to you to make their life easier or harder. You expect a lot if you rely on your customers returning to your engine after having diverted them to a separate registration process and made them waste time filling out a lengthy form. You know the result, they’ll only make that effort between 20% and 40% of the time

One of the obstacles that is most injurious to your conversion rate is forcing your customers to validate their email address in order to continue. Avoid this at all costs. Combining the “book and join” processes allows your customers to make a booking and register at the same time. In any case, validation of the email address would be implicit, otherwise your customer would not receive the email confirmation.

However, while combining these steps into one (“book & join”) step sounds easy, you have to be very careful how you present it to the user. Make sure that your interface is simple and transparent and that you don’t leave any doubts to be clarified. You should display the following three options and make it clear what each one means:

  • Log in: For those who are already members.
  • Book & Join: For those who are not members but agree to sign up in order to get those exclusive advantages and discounts.
  • Choose non-member rates: For those who prefer to pay more not to share their personal data.

non members rates mirai

  1. Remove all non-essential personal data fields to make a booking

Many hotels are tempted to add secondary personal data fields to the booking form in order to get to know their customers and future members better. This is a classic mistake that affects your conversion rate: the more fields you add, the fewer users will complete the booking. Stick to the essential number of fields to be filled in and look for other ways to get the information (you can deduce their language from the language they used to make the booking or their country from the IP address).

You have plenty of opportunities to complete your information about your new members:

  • The easiest one is during the check-in process, when you have your customer in front of you. Implementing a procedure in reception or with a guest experience manager are just two options.
  • Your Wi-Fi landing page is also an opportunity to ask for more information from your new members.
  • Another great solution is integrating your loyalty program with a CRM. As you get the (partial) information of new members coming from bookings, you can trigger email campaigns designed to obtain more data relating to their preferences, segment them, or acquire any other information you would like to have.
  1. Beware of legal issues

Every country or territory has its own rules, so it is not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. For example, in the European Union, the GDPR regulation applies, which protects customer privacy. In the US, the states of California and Oregon have more restrictive laws than the rest of the country. Seek legal advice on which law applies to your hotel for each country.

The “terms and conditions” of your loyalty program should be available to your customers at all times. It is a good idea to have a page on your website dedicated exclusively to your club, where you explain to your members the benefits of the program and how you will use their personal data.

Remember that first-time bookers who simultaneously join your loyalty program must explicitly accept these “terms and conditions” in order to finalize their booking (they must “opt in”, i.e. explicitly click to agree to subscribe).

terms conditions loyalty program mirai

Those who are already members should be offered a members’ area that includes the option to unsubscribe from your program and delete their account, should they so wish. We also recommend allowing them the option of opting out of receiving marketing information.


Expanding the membership database is a major challenge for hotels and a primary goal for the marketing manager of every hotel chain. With a “book and join” option, hotels have a unique opportunity to convert their customers into members.

Demand this functionality from your booking engine provider (our clients have it available in Mirai). Be careful how you implement it, as it is important that you maintain simplicity and transparency as the main pillars of the user experience. And finally, don’t let anyone tell you how well or badly you are doing. Just go by your numbers: if more than 90% of first-time bookers become members and your overall conversion rate is not affected by merging “book and join”… congratulations, you’re doing great!