Home » 3 Loyalty Program Examples to Monetize Customers in the Travel Industry

3 Loyalty Program Examples to Monetize Customers in the Travel Industry

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Global Head of Content , Emarsys

The travel industry is an ever expanding market. According to Statista, in 2014 the global tourism revenue for the whole year was $1.26 billion. Still, travel industry players face two main problems.

As the competition for price-sensitive customers overwhelms the market, it’s hard to acquire new customers, and even harder to encourage existing ones to make their future purchases with your business. However, if you provide extra value to customers that motivates them to choose you over your competitors, and plant incentives throughout their journey that help you earn their loyalty in the long term, you can turn the tables.

Let me show you how this type of personalized marketing works, through the next three loyalty program examples.

Everything should be about satisfying customer needs

U.S. News ranked Wyndham Rewards as the number one hotel loyalty program in the US, and it’s no wonder. They know exactly how to charm potential customers, building their customer loyalty program in a way that targets their multiple buying personas, including millennials, who tend to go on more weekend trips during the year compared to other customer groups who plan long vacations weeks ahead.

Let’s stick with millennials for the time being. According to an infographic on Hospitalitynet.org, 85% of millennials want the best possible deals, including discounts, freebies, and extra amenities.

How does Wyndham Rewards meet this need? By offering the following to their customers:

  • Discounts & bonus points: They give $10 off per night and 200 bonus points if a customer stays at one of their hotels for two or more days.
  • Free nights: If a customer collects 15,000 bonus points, they receive a free night. After earning 30,000 points, they are rewarded with 2 free nights.
  • Discounts for other brands: Customers earn miles for airline loyalty programs, like American Airlines’ AAdvantage, Aeroplane, Life Miles, and many more. This means, instead of collecting Wyndham Rewards points, customers can earn points and therefore discounts for other, more frequently used services.

Wyndham Rewards has taken some great steps to offer customers the best perks, even collaborating with other brands in the travel industry to reach this goal.

wyndhamThe landing page of Wyndham Rewards, ranked first amongst hotel loyalty programs. (Image source)

Reward customers differently based on their spend

JetBlue realized something essential: 75% of travelers are ready to pay for extra services. They also saw that most of their customers book tickets for economy class.

How could they encourage this customer group to spend more?

Simply, they offered customers ways to earn points by purchasing extras, like traveling with pets or purchasing seats with more legroom. Moreover, they gave 3 points for every dollar customers spend, and they incentivized online purchase with 6 points per dollar if a customer booked via their website. Plus, their customers can choose between several fare options.

Depending of the option chosen, customers have the opportunity to earn more points, similar to every tiered customer loyalty program. By rewarding customers who spend more, they can encourage high-spenders to come back.

jetblueIn JetBlue’s loyalty program, customers who spend more and pay for extra services can earn more loyalty points – and therefore rewards. (Image source)

Encourage your current customers to bring their friends

Hospitalitynet.org also found that 76% of travelers decide on their travel destination and the services they use based on their friends’ recommendations. That’s why Marriott Rewards gives loyalty points to current customers who refer new ones.

How does it work?

They let customers invite 5 friends per year, and if an invited friend stays at a hotel, the referrer receives 2,000 bonus points. The best thing about this process is that the referred friend also receives 2,000 bonus points. Of course, Marriott is looking for new customers who will stay with them for the long run, so to encourage repeat visits they reward 2,000 bonus points for each of a referred customer’s first 5 stays.

marriottMarriott Rewards thanks customers who refer new customers to their brand. (Image source)

Conclusion

In the travel industry, everything depends on how well you know your customers and how much data you use to create targeted loyalty offers. The more targeted offers you make, the wider range of customers you can appeal to with your loyalty program.

If you would like to see how a loyalty program can help you take your customer retention strategy further, request a VIP demo from Antavo Loyalty Software. Antavo is a marketing software to build loyalty programs and a trusted third party partner of Emarsys.

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