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Do Travelers Feel Adequately Rewarded by their Travel Loyalty Programs?

A new marketing survey shows one out of four travelers think travel and hospitality programs could do better

Nearly a quarter (25 percent) of travelers say they don’t feel adequately rewarded for their loyalty to travel and hospitality brands, suggesting there’s room for improvement when it comes to these brands’ retention and loyalty strategies, according to a new study by Yes Marketing.

In their report “Understanding the Traveler’s Journey,” more than 1,000 travelers were polled on their travel priorities as they progress along their journey with travel and hospitality brands, from initial booking to brand loyalty. The report found that more than half of consumers (64 percent) have a go-to travel company they consider above all else.

The findings indicate that consumers are likely to stick with their preferred travel brands but only if they feel their loyalty is proportionately rewarded. In fact, a majority of consumers (83 percent) say that being rewarded for their loyalty influences their decision to remain loyal to a travel or hospitality brand, meaning these brands should fine tune their retention and loyalty strategies to deliver the experiences that make their customers feel like they’re getting special treatment.

“For today’s consumers, it’s about choosing a brand that consistently demonstrates its value,” said David McRae, president of Yes Marketing. “From luxury hotels to low-fare airlines, taking the steps to understand customer preferences and behavior enables travel brands to drive long-term loyalty by reinforcing the value they bring along every step of the consumers’ journey – be it saving money or experiencing first-class service.”

The report found that almost half (49 percent) of consumers say exclusive member benefits make them feel rewarded for their loyalty to a travel or hospitality brand, and 32 percent say they feel rewarded by waived fees.

“Whether it’s offering exclusive perks or providing personalized recommendations, travel brands need to leverage the right incentives to encourage customers to choose their brand time and again,” said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Marketing. “Through the right combination of technology and services, brands can glean a deeper understanding of their customers’ preferences to inform their retention and loyalty strategies and develop lifelong connections.”

Additional findings from the report include:

• Forty-four percent of customers say they’d prefer brands to send them communications informed by their past behavior, while 29 percent say they’d like to see more messaging based on their demographic information.

• More than half of consumers (52 percent) want travel and hospitality brands to send them more information about reservations and past travel.

• Forty-three percent of consumers said they’d like to see more partner offers from travel and hospitality brands, followed by 40 percent of consumers who said they want to see customer reviews or testimonials.