We are in the exciting city of Bangkok at the Loyalty 2016 event organised by Flightglobal and Global Flight. The event has been outstanding so far, complete with a Tuk Tuk ride to dinner for our special guests.
I was fortunate enough to speak at a workshop and panel on “What does marketing expect from loyalty programmes?” This might sound like a straightforward topic but discussion amongst the airlines quickly showed that there are varying views of where loyalty should fit, and what it contributes to the broader marketing objectives of airlines.
A number of interesting points came up during the different discussions – but it seems like one thing everyone agrees on is that airlines are sitting on a gold mine of customer data and only a few are fully benefiting from it, and this is clearly not a technology issue. Opportunities are endless and carriers need to be bolder and more innovative in this space.
An interesting point raised by one of the speakers was that people focus too much on having information, but the key is making this information relevant and personalised. It seems that with technology these days the opportunities are endless, standards are much more open so airlines have no other option than to leverage what is out there, and we as a solution provider need to help the industry and airlines maximise these opportunities.
Airlines need to have a central view of the customer and ensure they are offering value to the traveller, whether this means a relevant and engaging loyalty and rewards proposition or Customer Experience Management that allows airlines to define strategies around what they know about their customers. As the speaker said, it is not just about going from A to B but also adding value at each step of the customer journey. In order to do this you need to know much more about your customer.
It is invigorating to attend an expert event like this, spending almost three days immersed in loyalty discussions listening to what is happening in the industry. With over 250 loyalty experts attending, you really get the feeling that the future of loyalty is being shaped here!
Stay tuned to hear about our reflections on the last day of the event from my colleague Christian Baillet, who was on a panel discussing the opportunities presented by “Infrequent Travellers”.