London, September 26, 2011: As the travel market becomes increasingly competitive, and therefore loyalty becomes ever more important, Collinson Latitude is calling on airlines and hotels to act fast or risk losing vital customers.
A global provider of incremental revenue products, Collinson Latitude believes airlines and hotels need to think more innovatively to improve their customer engagement and retention.
Janet Titterton, director at Collinson Latitude, says: “There are many rapid, low-cost ways to maintain the loyalty of the customers you hold, but the travel industry has not yet realised the potential of these opportunities. Superior customer service and relevant customer experiences remain key, but you can also increase your customers’ engagement with your brand by providing them with value for money or passing back value derived from your brand buying power. This ‘value exchange’ will enable differentiation and keep your brand top of mind. A long-term, profitable relationship will follow.
“The flexibility of travel loyalty programmes is also key to their success. The market is constantly evolving, so airlines and hotels need adaptive strategies to offer programme flexibility that meets changing market dynamics and customer needs.
“Furthermore, travel companies can apply the best e-commerce thinking to increase the value of their loyalty currency. Take Amazon.com, for example. The company is well-known for providing recommendations based on a previous purchase. Such targeting can be matched by airlines and hotels providing multiple redemption offers – tailored to customer behaviour – to provide customers with ‘everyday benefit’ for their engagement.
“Collinson Latitude is today launching a campaign www.latitudeignite.com to advise travel organisations how to achieve more active, loyal and profitable customers for life. In the past, traditional reward programmes have often been expensive to set up and run, so travel companies are now looking for the kind of flexible, sustainable and cost-effective options we offer.
“From an airline or hotel operator’s perspective, improving the quality and consistency of engagement with customers is a priority. Intelligent airlines, for example, offer frequent flyer programmes (FFPs) with lifestyle rewards far beyond traditional air travel redemptions. Indeed, even the means of earning miles is no longer limited to air travel, and can be achieved through non-travel-related products and services, increasing the opportunity to earn loyalty currency for everyday behaviour. However, the ability to redeem this currency is often restricted by low availability, demanding that loyalty programmes need to offer customers more choice in how they can realise their rewards.
“Airlines are also eager to see customers redeem miles for financial reasons, because complex accountancy auditing guidelines mean unexpired miles represent deferred revenue, which the airline can only release once the miles are redeemed. Alongside the benefit of building customer relationships, FFP managers therefore have a high financial incentive to encourage customers to exploit the full range of redemption opportunities.
“The end result is that customers enjoy regular benefits across many aspects of their lives while the airline or hotel operator enjoys increased financial gain.”
Collinson Latitude’s multi-channel products can be seamlessly integrated into an existing airline or hotel loyalty programme. Capitalising on the proven and growing popularity of online shopping is a particularly strong route to customer retention. ‘RewardAll’, for example, is a merchant-funded online shopping and rewards programme that brings together thousands of diverse online merchants globally, so that each time a customer makes a purchase through the ‘Reward All’ portal, they can earn hotel loyalty points or airline miles. To complement loyalty programmes, ‘iRedeem’ is an online redemption solution that allows loyalty programme members to redeem their loyalty currency across a catalogue of diverse travel, lifestyle and leisure rewards.
Collinson Latitude’s parent company, The Collinson Group, has over 20 years’ experience in loyalty, marketing and membership. The Collinson Group also includes the world’s leading global loyalty agency, ICLP, who partner with global airline and hotel brands to build loyalty and customer relationship programmes.