Travel brands, especially the online travel portals and aggregators, use aggressive loyalty programs to tie in their customers to increase site stickiness and engage their customers till they make the buying decision. These increase cutover retention and even increase value or spend per customer as they fuel repeat customer purchase and increase involvement. Brands such as Goibibo, Expedia and MakeMyTrip use loyalty programs which are targeted towards certain products. So, you get Goibibo cash of 500 when you sign up for the first time. Oyo Rooms offers special discounts through redeemable cash coupons which can be used while booking a room again in any of the select cities. This helps in repeat purchase and according to the usage and spend of the clients, these rewards also increase.
Airline brands like Jet and Taj use loyalty programs very vigorously through Jet Points or a Taj Inner Circle Membership in which you are rewarded points for the spends you make with the brand. The higher your involvement with the brand and its various entities, the greater the reward points. Memberships are also divided into different sections such as Gold, Silver, and Copper. So, your status grows with the brand and you are made to feel more and more special and pampered. Freebies like fast check-ins, excesses baggage allowances, entry to grand events and partner redemptions mean you can spend and enjoy your points in many ways. You can redeem them when and how you want to. These points can also be converted to cash.
Brands like Triphobo have a separate blogging platform to increase loyalty and create a community of hardcore travel enthusiasts who will share their live travel experiences with others and inspire them to travel more. These bloggers get money and get paid for their content writing skills and are like the ambassadors of the brand.
Refer and Earn
Once you have a group of loyal customers, we move into the next phase of loyalty. This is ‘refer and earn’ in which your most loyal customers become your brand ambassadors as it were and increase brand recall and enjoinment by word of mouth. They are rewarded when they share their superior brand experience with their peers and get others to sign in with the brand. For every positive referral they make, they get rewarded even further. Credit cards like Citi and Amex use this system extensively to increase market share and brand loyalty. It is a direct share of brand experience by the customer to a new customer and thus, a more reliable form of advertising.
A Cost Effective Tool
Loyalty programs are very cost-effective as compared to a traditional form of advertising and are a sure shot winner as a below-the-line activity. Its response can be measured easily and accurately and there is not much spillage of brand budgets. So it’s a cost-effective measurable tool which is precisely targeted with focused goals in mind. Nowadays, data analytics from the net gives us a bird’s eye view on how a brand is headed and how one should balance one’s loyalty programs to get the best mileage.