Exploring The Best Travel Loyalty Programs Designed to Boost Customer Retention

by Deepak Nautiyal |

Exploring The Best Travel Loyalty Programs Designed to Boost Customer Retention

With the year 2020 proving devastating for the world’s economy due to COVID19 outbreak, the travel industry is indeed the one to be the worst hit by the pandemic. Travel loyalty programs being the key to retaining travel industry customers, companies in this business vertical can consider getting back on track by implementing robust travel loyalty solutions.

In this blog post, we will take into account the need for your travel business to deploy a travel loyalty program. Additionally, we will also consider some of the best travel loyalty programs available to help you get a better idea of what features to include in your program.

  What is a Travel Loyalty Program?

A travel loyalty program refers to a points/rewards based system that facilitates travel industry companies to offer  attractive rewards to their customers in an endeavor to positively influence customer behavior and boost retention. By signing up for a customer-centric travel loyalty program, customers get the opportunity to enjoy free flights, free stay and other perks as offered by their travel service provider.

However, signing up for one of the available travel loyalty programs may be slightly confusing for a few customers as they have to closely follow the expiration dates, program restrictions, rewards earning & redemption methods etc. So, it’s extremely necessary to ensure providing your customers adequate information on enrolling and benefitting from the travel loyalty program you offer.

 Prominent Benefits of Travel Loyalty Programs

As per a study by Nielsen, “60% customers consider loyalty programs as a crucial factor during their buying decisions”. Additionally, customers spend almost 46% more with businesses having an established loyalty program.

This indicates the significance of launching a travel loyalty program that comes bundled with exciting offers for your existing customers.

When your customers sign up for your offered travel loyalty program, they expect you to offer the best-in-class rewards that are missing in your competitors’ offering. It thus becomes of paramount importance for you to design the travel loyalty program optimally so as to engage your customers successfully, prolong their moments of delight and retain them for longer.

Let’s now consider some prominent benefits of travel loyalty programs that render them a must for you to consider a well-structured one designed and implemented for your travel business –

Increased Bookings

By specifying an expiration date for the total points accumulated by your customer, you prompt them to book more frequently, that adds up to swift revenue growth for your travel business. However, you must ensure having a justified expiration date for points redemption, else the customer may lose interest in your initial offer.

Reduced Costs

Compared to convincing the travelers going for their first booking, it’s much inexpensive and time-saving to attract repeat guests. Moreover, loyalty members go for direct mode of booking rather than via any agent which translates into added cost savings for them. So, it’s going to be a win-win situation for both you and your customer anyways.

Gather Rich Data

When your customers sign up for your travel loyalty program, you get to easily track their interests & preferences in regard to the travel domain. It easily gives you access to rich customer data which  further helps you to attain better insights for future offerings in sync with the customers preferences. Delivering a more personalized customer experience becomes easy with the rich amount of data the travel loyalty program brings along

Incremental Value

By having a travel loyalty program in place for your customers, you can stay assured of deriving additional revenue as the enrolled customers are more likely to spend on additional services besides availing your usual mainstream offering.

Why Use Travel Loyalty Programs in 2020?

The year 2020 has witnessed a steep decline in almost all spheres – right from the global population’s health to economy & more.

The World Travel and Tourism Council has already projected a loss of $2.1 trillion in revenue if the pandemic continues its devastation for several months keeping the travel business at halt.

As per Roger Dow, CEO and President of the U.S. Travel Association, “Corona’s impact on travel is 6 or 7 times greater compared to the 9/11 attacks.”

With global travel businesses coming to a standstill due to the pandemic, only a systematically defined  strategy can actually empower them to regain the lost ground and become stronger in future.

An expertly-designed travel loyalty program powered by a robust travel loyalty solution running in the backend has the potential to boost your customer retention capabilities to unexpected levels. Hence, giving nod for a travel loyalty program would be the best strategic move for you to make in the current difficult economic times.

However, just implementing a travel loyalty program won’t serve the purpose until you clearly explain your customers the crucial aspects related to the program including process of rewards points calculation, how the customers can redeem the points etc.

A Quick Overview of the Best Travel Loyalty Programs

Let’s explore the top travel loyalty programs that have produced favorable results for their respective businesses –

Top Hotel Loyalty Programs

Marriot Bonvoy Rewards

  • Total hotels in Network – 6900+
  • Countries covered – United States, Asia, Canada, and Europe
  • Five elite levels – Silver, Gold, Platinum, Titanium, Ambassador
  • Three lifetime tiers (Silver, Gold, Platinum) for guests earning loyalty year after year
  • Points can be transferred to 40+ airline partners (3 Marriot points = 1 airline frequent flyer mile)
  • Rewards may be used for car rentals, Priority Pass membership, shopping, or can be donated to charity

The Wyndham Rewards program

  • Total hotels in Network – 4000+
  • Countries covered – United States, Africa, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, and Asia
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent on qualifying nights (paid nights)
  • Three elite tiers – Gold, Platinum, Diamond
  • Bonus points 10%, 15%, 20% for Gold, Platinum, Diamond tiers respectively
  • Points can be redeemed for hotel rooms, gas, gift cards, and purchases.

World of Hyatt

  • Total hotels in Network – 900+
  • Countries covered – United States, Europe, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, and Asia
  • Four membership tiers – Member, Discoverist, Explorist Globalist
  • Earn additional free nights with “The World of Hyatt Credit Card” (available for $95 annual fee)
  • Lifetime status received after earning 1 million base points during membership
  • Points can be redeemed for airline miles (30 airline frequent flyer programs) or car rentals as well

Hilton Honors

  • Membership levels – Blue, Silver, Gold and Diamond
  • 100% point bonus and 48-hour room guarantee in case of last-minute bookings for Diamond elite members
  • Members having Diamond status for minimum 10 years qualify for Lifetime Diamond status
  • 10 base points earned for every $1 spent at Hilton portfolio hotels
  • Points expiration after 12 months of account being inactive
  • Points can be used for buying specific products on Amazon

Top Airline Loyalty Programs

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

  • Destinations : Alaska, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, Atlanta and New York, Mexico Canada, and Costa Rica
  • Daily Flights: 500 – 1,000
  • Free Signup for new members
  • Rewards can be redeemed within one year
  • Earn 1 base “Mileage Plan” mile for every actual mile flown
  • Elite status levels – MVP, MVP Gold, MVP Gold 75K

Delta Airlines SkyMiles Program

  • Destinations : Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Boston
  • Daily Flights: 2,000+
  • 25+ International Airline partners
  • Earned miles never expire provided account is active
  • Five membership levels – Basic, Silver Medallion, Gold Medallion, Platinum Medallion, Diamond Medallion
  • Earn 2 SkyMiles per dollar spent with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

The JetBlue TrueBlue program

  • Destinations : Boston, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Florida, Caribbean, Mexico
  • Daily Flights: 500-1,000
  • Program joining free; points do not expire
  • Earn points through partner hotels, Amazon, car rentals
  • Purchase additional points through website
  • Earn points through JetBlue credit cards (JetBlue Card, JetBlue Plus Card, JetBlue Business Card)

United MileagePlus Program

  • Destinations : All major American cities, Europe, Australia, Latin America, Washington, San Francisco
  • Daily Flights: 2,000+
  • Five status levels – Basic, Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, Premier 1K
  • Premier status based on previous calendar year’s flying & spending
  • Earn additional 1-2 miles per dollar spent at major partner hotels
  • Extra miles earning also via United-branded credit card

Let Professional Experts Design & Implement Your Travel Loyalty Program

Getting acquainted with the benefits travel loyalty programs bring along and the prominent features of the best programs available, rolling out an attractive travel loyalty program should definitely be your optimal strategic move. Let’s make the task slightly easier for you by providing you access to our travel loyalty program experts. Simply get in touch with our experts to get the best customer loyalty solution built & implemented for your travel business. Contact our experts now!

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