[Phocuswire]: Problems with MEMBERSHIP LOYALTY PROGRAMS

This was originally posted by Phocuswire. You can read it on their site here. 

While travel benefits are the most common perk included in the loyalty programs offered by membership organizations such as social clubs, trade groups and subscription programs, actually booking travel is not a priority for members.

That’s one of the findings in a new report from travel loyalty technology provider iSeatz.

The report finds that nearly three-quarters of membership organizations either offer or plan to offer travel rewards, with the three most common reward types being hotel (56%), air (49%) and car rental (48%).

Yet only 23% of members said they would book travel through their organization if they were sure they would be getting a better deal than with another travel site — meaning more than three-quarters wouldn’t even bother.

It’s everyday discounts that nearly half of consumers said they value most from their memberships, according to the report.

Two surveys formed the basis of the findings: one of 251 professionals who oversee or direct membership organizations; and a second of more than 2,000 consumers affiliated with such organizations.

The report, which iSeatz called the only industry report focused on the intersection of loyalty programs and membership groups, reveals that the traditional transactional approach to loyalty will only go so far toward engaging and retaining members.

“Our report sets a new standard for understanding the dynamics of loyalty within the membership-based sector by pinpointing the distinct needs and goals of membership communities, something never done before,” iSeatz CEO Kenneth Purcell said. “Understanding the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind members' behavior ensures that membership organizations can develop effective loyalty strategies that enhance engagement and retention and unlock new avenues for sustainable growth.”

The report could be viewed as an opportunity for travel to make greater inroads with membership group loyalty programs. While a form of travel booking was offered by 93% of the organizations surveyed, only 17% of consumers said they visit their member organization website first when booking travel. The most common response, at 29%, was “rarely,” while 15% said they book parts of their trip through the membership organization and some with other sites or agents.

The report concluded “the lack of an integrated, full-featured travel rewards and booking experience is something membership organizations can address and reap immediate benefits from.”

“It's no longer just about value,” Purcell said. “Affinities run deeper, and although value continues to be a key motivating factor, it doesn't solely define a membership organization's intrinsic worth. Investing in technology, robust rewards portfolios and superior user experience presents a transformative opportunity for membership organizations to increase engagement among current members and attract new members with a revamped value proposition.”

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