Travel loyalty programs in the past
Travel loyalty programs have been around for decades now. They used to be synonymous with strict standards or unfair clauses. They really were just a little bit of icing on an otherwise mediocre cake to inspire people to travel with a particular airline with whom they had already racked up many miles. There were not a whole lot of perks and it could take months or years to be able to accumulate enough miles to be able to go on a trip. That was assuming that the trip you want to go on was not over one of those infamous blackout dates. There were so many rules, regulations, and stipulations it was frustrating for cardholders trying to redeem those airline miles for trips they actually wanted to go on.
However, as technology in travel evolved, so did the travel loyalty programs. Now instead of taking a huge amount of time and huge amounts of travel to be able to make use of those miles, technology is allowing for better travel loyalty programs that incorporate so much more than just airline miles.
Travel loyalty programs today
The advance of technology in travel offered a huge boost to both business and leisure travel. Now with the ability to find cheap flights nearly any time of the year, airlines had to step up their game and work harder to be able to keep travel loyalty. Without a thriving travel loyalty program, airlines soon found themselves losing out to better equipped and better priced airlines that could offer cheaper trips than their own loyalty members could get. By giving this power back to the customer through the use of online booking tools and travel agencies, travel loyalty programs have had to evolve and become better.
One of the ways that travel loyalty programs have advanced in recent years is by allowing greater access and availability on what you can use your air miles on, as well as including more ways of being able to accumulate those miles. Some of the things that you can use your air miles on nowadays are magazine subscriptions, identity protection software, and even gift cards. So if you have too few miles for that exotic trip but enough for you to be able to get a gift card to a store you like to shop at, then this continues to be a way for you to get huge benefits out of your air miles, even when you were not traveling.
This flexibility that is being offered not only affects how you can accumulate travel points and miles but also how you can use them, and it is causing a huge upheaval in the travel loyalty program. Another way that travel loyalty programs are trying to cash in on the loyalty of their customers is through clever use of technology to be able to offer customers more with their miles, including things like bundling hotels and flights together. This practice is assisted by travel agents who are skilled in knowing how to use those miles and the best ways to get more out of them.
Of course there are the traditional things that you can use your miles and points for in your travel loyalty program – things like receiving special accommodations at the airport if you have enough points. You do not necessarily need to be spending those points to get special treatment, since if you have a large enough collection of them you go into a different category of traveler and your airline’s travel loyalty program will try to reward you by providing little perks to help keep you with the airline. Things like complimentary checked bags or seat upgrades, free drinks, and the ability to relax at an airline club in larger airports, plus many other side benefits to those who fly with the same airline regularly, are the norm.
Corporate travel loyalty programs
In the corporate world of travel, something big companies and small ones alike seek to do is to get the most for every dollar. It is not just enough to have something that looks good on paper with your corporate travel loyalty program – you want to have something that will actually give you the greatest value for the money you are spending. Something that one should ask is whether a smaller or medium size travel loyalty program could offer you better returns than the large ones.
For instance, earning points with a small or medium size travel program will vary in perks just as it does with the big ones between airline to airline, and also in the ways in which you can actually spend your points. However, even though they are smaller you may find a better deal in the actual return on the investment. For instance, if it takes $10,000 worth of traveling to earn 3,000 points and you can redeem those 3,000 points for a $400 ticket, then that is a far better return than the ability to recoup a ticket at $200. Looking at all of the ins and outs of how a program is structured will be able to help you learn how you can exploit minor loopholes in the way that they pay out air miles. Like with many things in life, there’s a possibility that by “buying in bulk” you are able to get a far better return on your trip miles especially if you are a corporation that has employees traveling regularly.
Why are travel loyalty programs growing?
The answer is the hard work of travel agents who are using new technology on behalf of businesses to be able to provide them with the greatest cost savings through the use of their loyalty programs. Travel agencies also help to combine flights and hotels together to be able to bundle and save on behalf of the business that continue to use the same airlines regularly. Greater flexibility on how you can earn and spend your points have all contributed to the growing field of travel loyalty programs and are likely to do so for years to come.
So what is the role of technology in all of this?
Technology is the main reason why these travel loyalty programs have reinvented themselves. They provided information not only about the new tech traveler’s behavior, but also about his preferences and habits. Travel agents and airlines have now the necessary data to provide what it knows the customer actually wants, whether it is air miles or redeemed vouchers in business partners, they can now improve their clients’ travel experience and try to earn their loyalty with a more suitable service offer.
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