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3 Travel Loyalty Program Tips

95% of travel loyalty program members plan to travel for leisure in the next 12 months, however, only 52% of consumers say the travel loyalty program(s) they are part of cater to what they value most. This dichotomy between loyalty program members’ desire to travel versus their satisfaction with the programs they are in presents a huge revenue opportunity for travel brands. Savvy travel brands must focus on improving their loyalty programs to drive sales with shoppers who are likely to travel soon and maintain a faithful customer base.

But where should you start when it comes to building out a more comprehensive loyalty program? And, how can you set your brand apart from the competition? To answer these questions and many more associated with travel loyalty programs, we’ve put together a list of three strategies to get you started.

Keep reading for three tips that will get your travel loyalty program ready for takeoff! 

Add Unique Benefits

With the earliest frequent flier program dating back to the 1980s, travel loyalty programs have dominated the industry for decades. So, how can you make your rewards program stand out from the rest?

Take a page out of Southwest Airlines’ playbook, and start offering unique benefits to your loyalty program members. Amongst other things, the budget-friendly airline has become known for its Companion Pass— a benefit that allows loyal customers to bring a companion with them on an unlimited number of flights for a full calendar year. This one-of-a-kind benefit has helped to build and sustain the brand’s loyal customer base.

When refreshing your loyalty program, take note of what your competitors offer today. Identify gaps in their programs that may be compelling to your customer base, and decide which makes the most sense to your loyalty program. Of course, be sure to collaborate with your finance team and other stakeholders to make sure the new benefit doesn’t undercut the profits of your loyalty program. We’d hate to see you make the same mistake as Michael Scott when he accidentally gave a single customer five 10% off “golden tickets,” but we of course encourage you to dress up as Willy Wonka if that’s your thing. 😂

@nbc Michael’s face when Jim says “You found FIVE golden tickets?!” 😂 Stream The Office on @Peacock #theoffice #michaelscott #willywonka #wonka ♬ original sound - NBC

Allow Members to Transfer Credit Card Points

There are few things more gratifying than booking a vacation entirely with points. While some consumers may choose to accrue points using an airline or hotel chain’s specific loyalty program, others may amass their points stockpiles by making purchases with travel credit cards.

To capture folks in the latter category, consider giving shoppers the option to transfer their credit card points into their loyalty account with your brand. Of course, you’ll need to work with other teams to create brand partnerships with credit card companies, but adding this feature will broaden your loyalty program’s appeal to different types of travelers. Those already familiar with your brand will be able to book using points with even more ease, and those who haven’t purchased with you before can learn about your company through their credit card’s rewards portal— win-win.

Offer Elevated Experiences

According to McKinsey, experiential factors like “feeling taken care of” have become increasingly more important and are one of the top drivers of customer loyalty to cruise lines, hotels, and airlines. To capitalize on this, consider adding experiential benefits to your travel loyalty program.

Royal Caribbean offers comprehensive onboard benefits to its loyal members. From discounted milkshakes to free internet access, Royal Caribbean’s loyalty program comprises a wide array of benefits that members can only experience aboard one of the brand’s cruises. Not only do these benefits enhance travelers' trips onboard, but also encourage loyalty members to book more cruises with Royal Caribbean to redeem their coveted rewards.

We hope these three travel loyalty program tips give you the inspiration you need to uplevel your travel company’s offerings to your most faithful customers.

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