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Are loyalty programs the way out of this mess?

We all have that friend who offers to put dinner on her card. She is not being magnanimous. She wants the points. 



Most of us chase points in our own way. We get petrol from particular service stations, pay with particular cards and shop in particular stores. And travel companies have been paying attention. 


Travel intermediaries such as TripAdvisor and Expedia Group have recently relaunched loyalty programs to encourage more bookings on both stays and experiences and data and analytics company GlobalData says this is a way to keep top of mind for consumers during the pandemic. 


According to a recent GlobalData survey, the main obstacles facing travel’s recovery are quarantine requirements (57%), travel restrictions (55%) and fear of contracting COVID-19 (51%). The fourth barrier was financial concerns (29%).


We can’t control the first three, but when it comes to economic restraints, travel companies have options. 


GlobalData travel and tourism analyst Johanna Bonhill-Smith said that loyalty programs and increased collaboration will be key features of post-pandemic travel.


“This year will likely see more partnerships form across the sector in loyalty programs, not only displaying increased collaboration in travel’s recovery, but offering a wider range of services to customers.


“This will help to drive revenue and recovery, while increasing value for end users.” 


Effective loyalty program will not only make customers feel valued, but may pay dividends in restoring customer confidence in travel’s recovery, she said. 


“Loyalty programs are not new, but it is clear companies across the travel and tourism supply chain now see them as key to keeping customers engaged throughout the pandemic. The more value the offering can provide, the higher incentive to book or stay with a particular brand.” 


“With leading companies across the travel sector now investing in loyalty programs, it suggests that there is a heightened focus on ROI and value for money experiences in post-pandemic travel.”


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Published: 3 May 2021

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