Loyalty 2015 conference highlights customer centric strategies for airlines

Rob Sinclair Barnes

Strategic Marketing Director, Airlines, Amadeus IT Group

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The conference, which was chaired by leading industry analyst Ravindra Bhagwanani, Founder and Managing Director of Global Flight, featured a number of insightful sessions, ranging from discussions on ways to create loyalty through the total customer experience to talks about how technology can help airlines build better profiles of their customers. The overall theme of the conference focused on going beyond loyalty solutions with a view towards the entire traveller lifecycle. The conference also explored ways to refine and influence purchasing decisions related to frequent flyer programs and the added value they deliver in revenue per passenger and rewarding satisfaction.


The 7th annual Loyalty 2015 conference in Istanbul brought together key players from the airline industry and beyond to discuss loyalty strategies and Amadeus was happy to engage with them on a number of important topics. Discussions revolved around the strategies that airlines can use to extract maximum value from their existing loyalty databases and how they can re-engage via a more customer-centric approach.

Patricio Rubalcaba, VP Mastercard, described the traveller habits between ‘webrooming’ and ‘showrooming’ and how general purchasing trends could be related to travel purchasing habits and traveller targeting withspecific offers. Relating to the topic of traveller habits, Ziya Tskent, SVP Turkish Airlines, our conference host airline, outlined the demographic shift of mega cities from West to East, and how understanding the customer completely was key to achieving their expansion and growth opportunity as a carrier with one of the highest destination portfolios of 264 across 108 countries.

Finding the right balance for corporations and business travellers is a key challenge in the industry, and to this end there was significant praise from the forum for theAmadeus Corporate Traveller Recognitionsolution launched in partnership with Lufthansa. Stephan Bingemer, LH Project Lead, outlined how this solution recognises corporate profiles in relation to the business traveller and can adjust and personalise the service offerings accordingly, which is an industry first that would better meet the needs of corporations and their travellers from CEO to roadwarriors.

On day two, Nathalie Chantal McCaughey, Economist from Monash University, shared an insightful economic thesis that scientifically validated the value of frequent flyer programs to an airline and where the final race to win increased status could be tracked, quantified and improve future frequent flyer offers and rewards tailored to the status of the traveller.

Overall the theme was not just the ‘customer is king’ but also the ‘customers corporation’ and tailored loyalty programs and solutions to increase value to both are also the keys to success. Finally, the main talking point, apart from the Amadeus Customer Party overlooking the skyline of Istanbul, was the snow which affected many and demonstrated the benefit for better personal travellerdisruption solutionsto assist when the weather is adverse.

Were you at the conference? What were your key takeaways? Send us atweet or comment below and let us know!