Travel loyalty programs have become an important part of the industry with the schemes from some airlines being worth more than the airlines themselves.
Research from PhocusWire sister-brand Phocuswright reveals that most travelers have joined at least one travel loyalty program but the big question is what will happen to travel loyalty as the industry recovers.
The research, released during the Phocuswright Conference 2020 online event, shows that loyalty programs do shape behavior.
For example, frequent travelers are more likely to shop direct on hotel and airline brand websites although the same is not true for online travel agencies.
In addition, while loyalty program members want the ability to compare options and reliable information that those not belonging to a scheme want from a website, but they also want the features of the program.
This means that travel brands managing to get consumers to join their loyalty programs increases the likelihood of attracting them to their websites.
The research also shows loyalty members are likely to stick to the same brands when choosing travel product and they tend to be brand advocates as well.
However, half of loyalty members say they will book outside of their program if a better offer is presented and it’s those with higher status that are more likely to do this.
What all this means in the pandemic is that loyalty programs must continue to offer the usual benefits but add flexibility around free changes and cancellations as more than half of study participants say these elements matter more.
In addition, almost two-thirds, 64%, say they will be more cautious about the brands they are willing to use.
Watch the full research presentation below:
Loyalty Revisited - A Phocuswright Research Presentation