Over the past year, we’ve experienced the most dramatic and sustained slowdown in travel in modern history. The pandemic forced business and leisure travelers alike to stay home for much of the past year.
Now, with vaccinations and new health and safety protocols here to stay, we’ve entered the recovery period. Yet reports say while price-sensitive leisure travelers will return in 2021, high-margin business travelers may not fully be back until 2024. If you manage a loyalty program in the travel space, now’s the time to conduct a thorough review of both your program and your loyalty strategies to ensure you can make the most of the recovery phase.
The loyalty strategies we offer below are based on these key observations:
- The world has changed drastically and permanently. The travel mindset has changed. Financial recovery will come through reimagined loyalty marketing.
- Forget the “V” recovery; real growth will be granular. Rather than wait, travel brands must scale micro-opportunities now to recover faster.
- Being prepared is good; being nimble is better. There will be progress. There will be setbacks. And all of this will require agility in the marketplace due to outbreaks, containment, and uncertainty.
Keeping these observations in mind, below are six things you should do now to maximize your loyalty program’s value and growth—through the recovery period and beyond.
- Fortify micro-segmentation strategies. Develop granular audience actions that enable quick responses to the changing landscape.
- Bring new travel experiences to life. Add content addressing health concerns and stressing that the travel experience has changed for the better.
- Integrate the travel experience. Regardless of your sector, deliver more value by creating a vertical experience, including transport, stays, and activities.
- Diversify program-engagement opportunities. Bring secondary sources of revenue to the forefront of loyalty promotions until business travel returns.
- Update your program framework to reflect new realities. Reimagine your loyalty structure and marketing to address leisure focus and expected disruptions.
- Make operations more agile. Proactively address pinch points, which inhibit workflow and slow your response to marketplace changes.
It’s the right time to get started: You can begin by downloading our full report, Preparing for a Bumpy Travel Rebound below. The Lacek Group has been designing, launching, and managing customer engagement and loyalty programs in the travel industry for nearly three decades, and we’d be thrilled to help you prepare your program for the next 30 years.
This post was written and published by our friends and colleagues at The Lacek Group. To learn more, visit www.lacek.com.
Prepared by The Lacek Group’s Travel Quartet:
Charlie Heitzig, VP, Data Intelligence
David Whitman, VP, Group Creative Director
Joe Rueckert, Senior Director, Strategic Services
Jon Fjalstad, SVP, Group Account Director