How to get new customers and keep them coming back

crosswordWith the large amount of competition that is within the travel industry, one of the most important things to do is create loyal customers. It is a company’s objective to make their company favoured above the others by their clients, meaning that they chose to travel with them rather than with any other company. The best way to show that your company is superior to others and the best out there is by creating incentives for your clients, making them returning clients. This type of loyalty can be created by having a high level of satisfaction with your service, offering customers ease and convenience for choosing your company and from offering perks to those who are loyal. It costs a business around five to 10 per cent more to acquire a new customer, when it is current customers who tend to spend 67 per cent more than a newer customer would. It is better for a company to work towards keeping their current clients by creating and maintaining a loyalty program and offering perks to those who are dedicated customers.

One of the most common ways to keep a customer loyal is through different loyalty programs. As James Birchall mentioned in his post Are you a frequent-flyer? Add joining an airline loyalty program to the to-do list, it is not only beneficial for companies but for clients as well. Frequent flyer memberships and point systems offer something back to the customer for choosing a particular company to travel with. According to Web Flyer, there were 89 million members of airline frequent-flyer programs worldwide in 2009. These loyalty programs keep customers coming back and helps turn them into return customers for your company.

There are other ways that your company can keep customers loyal. Similar to the British Airways, there are upgrades for those who are members of their loyalty programs. Advanced and separate boarding is available for those frequent clients. Receiving a free upgrade from a coach seat to a business class seat, and being allowed to board the plane prior to the coach flyers, makes a client feel like they are appreciated. These upgrades allow customers a stress-free and quick boarding experience.

Several airlines and train companies, like Via Rail, offer a member’s lounge with beverages, food and pre-boarding relaxation. This perk is great for business travellers as it lets the individual feel not only comfortable, but special as well.

Showing your customers that you appreciate them is not only beneficial for them, but for your company as well. As public relations professionals, we know offering a loyalty program and special customer appreciation perks are important because, according to the statistics posted in Cross Channel Conversation Blog:cards

  • 54 per cent would consider increasing the amount of business they do with a company for a loyalty program
  • They discovered that 46 per cent say they already have increased their business because of a loyalty program
  • 94 per cent of Canadians belong to a loyalty program

Sources:

  1. http://www.loyaltyleaders.org/facts.php?view=all
  2. http://www.hyken.com/customer-loyalty/customer-loyalty-programs-stats-facts-and-opinions/
  3. http://www.marketingmag.ca/uncategorized/secrets-of-canadas-top-loyalty-programs-2-25684
  4. http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31990/7-Customer-Loyalty-Programs-That-Actually-Add-Value.aspx

Tristan Hodgins

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Accommodating international customers

Having a successful international company means being accessible to different clients around the world. With each country there are different customs and means of connection. To become a truly successful international company, it is important to have these available for your customers.

When travelling it’s always important to make sure your credit cards will work where you are going. It is not only the responsibility of your clients to check, but the responsibility of travel companies to be able to accept a wide variety of payments. Having easily accessible booking options is an attractive feature for international clients. By offering the option of online payments through credit cards and debit, plus the option of purchasing over the phone, accommodates those who do not have access to the internet, or are unable to call your company to make bookings. To be a successful international company able to accommodate a wide variety of customers, it is important to offer different forms of payment.

Each culture and country has its own norms and traditions. It is extremely important to recognize and accept these sometimes uncommon norms in order to accommodate international customers. One of the easiest ways to start this is by having staff members who are fluent in several different languages. The Russian airline Aeroflot is accessible by 9 languages on their website. By offering this service to customers and clients, your company can expand their clientele and make them feel more comfortable traveling with you. Knowing you can easily speak with the staff makes customers feel not only more welcomed and understood, but also able to meet their needs.

Most companies in the travel industry offer meals to their travellers during longer trips. Airlines offer a selection prior to departing for their travellers to choose from, while train companies, such as Via Rail, offer a selection for their guest to choose from during their trip. Several airlines, including Air Canada and U.S. Airways, have also started offering specialty meals for their clients. No matter which form of travel your company specializes in, it’s important to offer meal selections for all sorts of dietary needs. There are vegetarians, vegans, those who eat gluten free meals, and there are religions that view some animals, like cows, as religious.

When it comes to advertising your company, it is important to be present over various mediums. Not all potential clients will have televisions, radios or check their emails. To ensure you reach all of your potential clients, it’s important to spread your marketing through a variety of channels. Having television commercials, radio commercials, notices through the mail, and a website ensures maximum potential to reach an audience.

Taking the time to provide these services to your current and future clients will make your business grow and ensure your customers enjoy their experience. Opening your business to include what is considered the norm in other countries across the world will make your company stand out in the travel industry. A large portion of public relations is listening to the clients’ needs and responding accordingly. One of the most important ways to do this is through accessibility, understanding of customs and providing a comfortable service to your clientele.

Tristan Hodgins