Travellers purchasing decisions now swayed by rewards on offer

09 September 2015

Brands potentially losing out to competitors if reward programmes are not up to scratch

Three fifths (61%) of travellers look to the quality of rewards on offer when making travel purchase decisions, according to new research out today. However, travel operators are failing to meet reward expectations with over two thirds (67%) of consumers claiming they are not satisfied with current programmes.

The study, from Collinson (formerly Collinson Latitude), shows that 74% of travellers purchase decisions are sometimes, often or always influenced by their programme. This highlights the big impact reward programmes now have on revenue generation and customer retention, with around three quarters of travel customers potentially choosing a competitor if reward programmes are not up to scratch.

A Guide to Reward Programmes: The Traveller's Review - which questioned 4,000 consumers globally also showed that despite being the first sector to introduce reward programmes in the 1970's, travel is now falling behind the curve. The retail, food & drink and the finance sector all ranked higher than travel in terms of consumer satisfaction and quality of reward programmes.

Combined with the fact that in 74% of cases a rewards programme can be the tipping point between a customer choosing one brand over another this suggests travel companies need to re-think their reward programme strategy.

When members were asked about the areas where travel programmes were falling short, three key areas stood out:

  1. Ease of use: nearly two thirds said that reward programmes were overcomplicated (64%) and hard to use (63%)
  2. Relevancy & choice: More than eight in ten (86%) said more choice of rewards would help improve their experience
  3. Service levels: Nearly seven in ten (69%) were unhappy with the level of service offered by their programme

"Today's connected traveller expects benefits from travel brands that are tailored to their individual needs," said James Berry, Head of Loyalty Commerce at Collinson. "If the user journey is poor, the transaction is too complicated or they can't find the reward they want, members will rightly look to other suppliers - waiting is not an option and a one size fits all approach doesn't fly anymore."

Collinson believes that by taking simple steps to address the issues highlighted, travel companies can improve the value of their reward and redemption programmes, having a big impact on customer satisfaction and retention.

He concluded: "To genuinely improve the way reward members perceive travel programmes, it's important to understand who customers are and what it is that they are likely to find rewarding. Deeper insights into customer behaviours give travel operators a critical competitive edge."