Flexibility, personalisation and partnerships are just some of the ways to build customer loyalty
Loyalty is a big issue in this fickle and competitive world where consumers are spoilt for choice and it’s harder than ever to build brand equity. In recent weeks that has led to some strange and interesting moves – Red Lion handing over it’s member rates to Expedia being one.
At TDS North America next month (Oct 6-7) driving loyalty is high on the agenda; here are some of the issues that will be up for discussion.
#1. Flexibilty: the biggest opportunity
Travel brands, which aren’t providing flexibility in how members can earn and burn their rewards are missing big opportunities, says Christopher Barnard, President at Points, a firm dealing in loyalty currency management.
His top tip for standing is to provide more options for members to both earn and redeem points and miles beyond their own brand, citing three travel brands that are doing this well:
Southwest Rapid Rewards allows members to reach redemption goals faster is a good example; in this programme points earned in hotel programmes like Marriott Rewards and Hyatt Gold Passport can be turned into the airline’s points. ‘Not only does this solution make rewards programme more valuable to members, but also increases their engagement,’ Barnard stresses.
La Quinta Inns & Suites recently updated La Quinta Returns. Now members can redeem rewards for stays outside of the La Quinta brand at 11,000+ other luxury properties around the world. More options to spend points is not only convenient but also incentivises members to keep booking and earning within the programme. For La Quinta it means global reach for its loyalty programme.
Flying Blue, the loyalty programme of Air France-KLM, among other partner airlines, adds more value to its programme by offering members many ways to earn miles. Through the recent launch of Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue booking engine, members can earn and spend their award miles, either in full or in combination with cash, on hotel bookings. The programme increases revenues by adding hotel sales and also offers a brand new rewards option to loyalty members, thus building value, convenience and ease of overall booking.