Provide the right travel rewards program for your guests

Everyone needs a vacation once in awhile, but for many Americans, taking a break isn’t always easy. Especially in light of the recent recession, consumers needed to cut back on their luxury spending and focus more on allocating their funds toward essentials or savings. Now that the recovery is beginning to take hold, many people are looking to treat themselves to trips once again, but they may be doing so with a more critical eye toward great deals.

Even if they’re willing to splurge in some ways, individuals today are looking for travel options that provide them the best value for their money. If businesses in the travel and tourism industry want to attract new customers and keep their current ones, they will need to enhance their loyalty rewards programs to provide distinct added value to their guests while still working within their budgets.

Loyalty is hard-won
The most important thing that travel brands must keep in mind is that when crafting a loyalty rewards program, there’s no room for generic offerings, especially because consumers are more discerning than ever about how they spend their income. According to a survey by Deloitte, “value for money” ranked among the most important factors travelers are paying attention to when selecting a hotel or flight.

However, some travel and tourism sector businesses may need to improve their value-added offerings if they wish to earn true fans. Deloitte discovered that among the survey’s respondents, 56 percent of individuals were happy with their hotel loyalty program and 53 percent were content with their airline loyalty program. At the same time, around half of those travelers polled considered these offerings as highly important when selecting a hotel or airline (45 percent and 55 percent, respectively).

What this data shows is that there is still an immense opportunity for travel brands to take advantage of the significant portion of their target market that is truly shopping around for the best loyalty program – some of whose needs are not currently being met. Boosting the percentage of guests who are thrilled by the incentives they’re offered will likely come down to presenting services and experiences that can be tailored to each person’s preferences.

Wyndham Hotel Group recently announced that it has clued into travelers’ desire for more than just a comfortable room at a reasonable price. As part of a summer promotion, guests will be able to earn double points in the Wyndham Rewards program by registering at the hotel’s website and staying at a participating location to complete two qualifying visits. But what makes Wyndham’s loyalty program so engaging is the wide range of ways in which guests can redeem their points. The program furnishes opportunities to take advantage of free hotel stays, gift cards for retailers and restaurants, airline travel, magazine subscriptions and more.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to attracting and retaining customers. But helping consumers save when they travel through custom, private-label savings programs is one way to attract value-minded travelers.

Travel brands must gather knowledge about their own guests and develop an experience that truly addresses these customers’ specific needs. Working with a best-of-breed marketing solutions firm, any business in the travel and tourism sector can revamp its loyalty programs in a way that makes the most sense for its own needs.

Photo by Christian Lambert Photography