The traditional business model for loyalty in travel isn’t dead, it’s just evolving. As mobile and cognitive technologies continue to advance, consumer expectations are changing, forcing loyalty programs to adapt to remain relevant in an over-saturated marketplace.

Disruption is the new norm

Travel brands know and understand that they need to build an emotional connection with their customers, and many believe that’s what they’re already doing. Yet, on the face of it, they’re merely creating a transactional one.

Maintaining a strong understanding of today’s rapidly evolving loyalty landscape will require brands to keep a close eye on the key disruptors in their industry to stay ahead.

Already, disruptors across the world are using technology to increase personalisation, real-time earning and redeeming. Not only that, they’re also removing the friction points that exist in loyalty programs by simplifying the user experience.

Elsewhere, other disruptive programs are partnering with retailers, requiring customers to link their credit cards for greater data collection, accounting for larger areas of consumer spending. Some are even bypassing third party and traditional providers altogether to streamline the customer experience.

Securing both the hearts and minds of consumers will require a combination of relevance, exclusivity, and engagement across multiple channels. A key challenge for travel firms yes, but a necessary one nonetheless.

Inevitably, loyalty schemes must give a customer control over curating and selecting rewards and the level of interaction they have with a brand, otherwise, they just won’t cut it in today’s digital arena.

Brands should also adapt their loyalty programmes collaboratively with their customers to increase their chances of success. Acquiring customer data is crucial for providing a personalised and relevant experience, so communicating to consumers what they get in exchange for their data is vital.

More and more, travel brands are being put under pressure by their customers to realign their loyalty programmes and deliver a relevant and engaging experience, whether it’s through their website, via an app or elsewhere.

Traditional points-based loyalty schemes simply aren’t agile enough to meet the rapidly changing expectations of travellers in the same way that new technologies are.

To meet demand, travel firms will need to leverage the power of new technologies and data science across multiple touchpoints, to deliver a more relevant and timely experience for their customers.

If industries can learn and grow by carefully watching the disruptors and innovators in their field, they will have the knowledge to greatly improve their approach to loyalty.

Here are just a few of the disruptors identified by Euromonitor International that are transforming the loyalty landscape as we know it…


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