This story was originally published by Skift. Read on their site here.
In order to meet new consumer expectations, travel loyalty programs must evolve with a new value proposition built around the booking experience, sustainability, personalization, and payment technology. iSeatz’s new report explores this “Tipping Point for Travel Loyalty in 2023” to help loyalty providers uncover new revenue opportunities.
Despite inflationary pressures and a challenging year characterized by airport bottlenecks and unreliable flight schedules, consumers’ appetite for new travel experiences continues to grow. For travel companies to capitalize on this demand, building and sustaining loyalty must become a top priority. But what do consumers value most from their travel loyalty programs, and where can those programs improve?
Findings from a new iSeatz survey of loyalty industry professionals and U.S. consumers suggest that travel rewards can help companies meet their engagement, revenue, and growth goals — but a disconnect between what most loyalty programs offer and what their members demand limits this potential. While 63 percent of industry respondents said their programs are members’ first choice when booking travel, only 51 percent of consumers reported the same.
“Today’s travelers, and consumers at large, crave more control over their buying experience,” said Kenneth Purcell, founder and CEO at iSeatz. “Companies that are in the business of travel or that aspire to provide travel to their customers must deliver on both value and flexibility to meet customer expectations and maximize loyalty.”
This report from iSeatz utilizes data from two concurrent surveys conducted in late 2022 to reveal the current challenges facing the loyalty industry and the evolving expectations of loyalty professionals and consumers concerning loyalty program performance. The bottom line? Companies that don’t offer travel rewards are missing out on opportunities to capture a greater share of wallet and drive customer engagement, and companies that do offer rewards need to make improvements if they want to stay competitive.
The report identifies several key enhancement opportunities, including integrating a travel booking platform into the loyalty program framework; offering inspiring travel options and lifestyle rewards that can be booked via a single digital platform; investing in personalization to display content and offers dynamically; and expanding sustainability rewards options to reach Gen Z and millennial consumers.
“With travel demand predicted to remain strong during a time when just about everything seems less affordable, this is a make-or-break moment for loyalty providers,” Purcell said. “Loyalty programs must lean into their value proposition and highlight their ability to reward members the way they want to be rewarded.”
In this report, you’ll also find:
- Survey data based on responses from loyalty industry professionals and U.S. consumers
- A breakdown of the key focus areas for travel loyalty programs
- A summary of the technological capabilities of loyalty programs and the appetite for investment in new technologies
- Consumer perceptions and preferences for loyalty experiences and payment options broken out by demographic, including millennial and Gen Z travelers
- How companies with loyalty programs can meet the needs of their members more effectively
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