Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) and Points Travel have released a new report which shows that travel brands in the Asia Pacific are taking the lead when it comes to customer loyalty.
Dubbed ‘Travel Loyalty Report: A wake-up call for sleepwalking loyalty programs’, the report shines a light on the current state of customer loyalty schemes ‘across multiple geographies and travel sectors, from airlines to OTAs to loyalty companies’.
The study shows that the most popular way to try to secure loyalty and repeat custom is through the old school techniques of discounts and coupons, with 61% of all respondents saying they rely ‘heavily’ on them. Whereas points or ‘miles’ rewards are used by 52% of respondents – 82% in the UK.
“Companies need to look beyond existing solutions like discounting, vouchers and points schemes”
In APAC however, just 24% of respondents are using points and miles to drive loyalty and 26% of APAC respondents are not offering a loyalty program at all. This trend differs from other regions that invest heavily in member reward schemes – 100% of those surveyed in the US and UK and 96% in the Middle East.
At a global level, 71% rate ‘quality of offering’ as being the most important factor for retaining loyalty, with ‘customer experience’ and choice of services and products also being highly valued. Yet, despite this acknowledgement, only half of those taking part in the survey answered positively when it came to working on product range and service, and only 33% said they are actively improving product range.
Conversely, in APAC regions such as China, 80% of respondents confirmed that improved products were the main reason for recent upticks in customer loyalty.
Ariane Gorin (above), president for Expedia Partner Solutions said: “Today’s savvy travellers are looking beyond price as they choose their preferred brands. To drive loyalty, travel companies need to look beyond existing solutions like discounting, vouchers and points schemes.
“Lasting loyalty will be won by companies who really tune in to consumer expectations, deliver a diverse product offering and invest in superior user experiences.”
Interestingly the survey finds there is no agreed system for quantifying a concept as nebulous as loyalty – currently the consensus is that social sentiment, at 61%, is the measurement. Though there are geographical idiosyncrasies, with social sentiment peaking in the United Kingdom at 80% but falling as low as 34 and 30% in Korea and Japan respectively.
Gorin ended her comments saying: “In Expedia Group’s affiliate business, we have helped hundreds of affiliate partners increase customer loyalty by expanding their product offering through access to our global rates and availabilities for travel products. In addition to our supply, we provide partners with best-in-class technology tools, built from Expedia Group’s more than a billion dollars in tech investment every year.
“The combination of supply, technology and account management helps our partners grow their businesses by increasing customer loyalty and engagement.”
The full report can be downloaded at bit.ly/travel-loyalty-report