Rethinking Airline Loyalty Programs in the Post-COVID Era
- Posted on July 13, 2022 by Robert
- Reading time about 6 minutes
Loyalty programs are becoming an essential part of every business sector to win customers’ hearts and retain them for a longer time. It is not new for the airline and hotel industries! Back in the 1980s, American Airlines introduced AAdvantage, one of the first travel loyalty programs, and soon after, hotel chains followed by coming up with Holiday Inn and Marriott, the first hotel loyalty programs in 1983.
Loyalty programs serve as an effective marketing tool to increase customer loyalty, which helps to boost the rate of repeat customers and revenue for hotels. In this blog, we will learn about innovative strategies to build a reliable airline Loyalty Management Software for your business and how it will help in attracting more flyers post-COVID.
Why Airline Industry Need Loyalty Programs?
With the COVID pandemic outbreak, air travel has suffered the most, and experts believe GDP is directly correlated with the aviation sector performance, i.e. people fly more when they have money in their pockets. Now, in a post-COVID world, it is essential to optimize, enhance, strengthen and scale the existing loyalty programs to help the airline industry get back on track. Airline loyalty is undoubtedly one of the best solutions to get over the 2020 dilemma and move ahead in the billion-dollar aviation industry.
Airline loyalty solutions, also known as frequent-flyer programs are being used by several airlines to keep their customers loyal to them. Most of these programs work on the earn and redeem model where customers get to earn miles & points when they fly with airlines and can redeem them on desired partners’ services. One way to have a successful loyalty program is to incorporate the entire ecosystem together which includes hotel chains, airport stores, lounges, taxi rentals, restaurants, travel credit cards, etc.
How Businesses Can Generate Higher Revenue using Airline Loyalty programs?
Records say the aviation industry witnessed massive profits from loyalty programs, for instance, United Airlines gained $5.3 billion in revenues from loyalty in 2019, which helps in getting benefits not just for brands but also for associate partners. A loyalty program built with well-planned strategies is what you need to eliminate the risk of losing your customers to competitors. To motivate customers and make them spend more, keep special focus on their needs and don’t forget to pamper them with special benefits.
For example, Delta Air Lines is one such airline that knows how to take advantage of its loyalty offering. The president of Delta Air Lines believed that customer loyalty & experience is a part of the same cycle and revenues flow once you learn to take advantage of it. Making use of a dedicated loyalty program, this airline has increased its revenue by 19% in just a single quarter. They even renewed their partnership with American Express to increase their revenues by up to 75% by 2023.
Top Benefits of Offering Airline Loyalty Programs to Customers
As a customer, it is always beneficial to take advantage of loyalty programs that give you more convenience, comfort, savings, and special privileges. All you need to do is fly frequently with the same airlines and take advantage of gathering rewards that can be converted to flier miles for later flight bookings.
Once the customer accumulates enough miles that can be covered for the flight ticket, you get free air travel through the loyalty program. There are other advantages such as special discounts, free access, and premium upgrades on the services of the airline & its associate partners.
Here are some of the top benefits that a customer can avail of through loyalty programs in the airline sector-
– Faster & Hassle-Free Flight Check-In
Being a member of an airline loyalty program helps customers in saving time not just in booking flights but also in boarding flights. Since your data is already stored in the system of Airlines, you get special benefits of early flight check-in as compared to the other passengers without membership.
– Special On-Boarding Lanes for Members Only
Forget long queues for boarding your flight! Many airlines offer special dedicated lanes for members only while onboarding, which is quite convenient and time-saving for those with infants, toddlers & old age and also gives normal customers the feel of elite status.
– Exclusive In-flight Facilities
As compared to non-members, members of the airlines’ loyalty program get preferential treatment that they can avail of in exchange for the reward points (miles) earned. They can get special in-flight amenities like extra baggage without charges, in-flight purchases, or exclusive services. However, these amenities can vary from one carrier to another carrier.
– Free Seat Booking
Another good thing about being an airline loyalty member is the choice to reserve desired flight seat before boarding the flight. You can get a preferred seat on priority as per the availability of seats without paying any extra cost.
– Exclusive Airport Lounge Access
There are many Airlines that are partnered with hotels to provide exclusive services as a part of loyalty offerings. You can get exclusive access to VIP lounges at airports by using your airline miles or loyalty points.
– Associate Partners’ Benefits
Loyalty program members of the Airline industry get members from Airlines as well as their associate partners. While customers purchase at partner outlets, they get extra loyalty points or special discounts. The benefits offered can vary from one partner to another.
– Premium Class Upgrade
Loyalty members of Airline members can upgrade their membership program like premium/business class without paying any extra charges if they qualify. This means they get access to upgraded services.
– Exclusive Experiences
Being a loyalty program member also helps customers to get access to free tickets for events, live concerts, and sports events in a particular city.
Build your own Airline loyalty program with Novus
As we are now aware of the increasing demand for airline loyalty programs, you should come up with a dedicated loyalty program for your business on time to cater to the evolving needs of customers and gain a competitive advantage.
Novus is an end-to-end loyalty solution provider that helps in building a wide range of loyalty programs for various industry verticals including travel, airline, and hospitality. Though Travel & Hospitality is quite a competitive industry, the right loyalty software solution makes it possible to deliver an amazing experience! Connect with us to have a quick demo of Novus and see how you can give your customers more reasons to choose you with a rewarding loyalty program!