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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Are you a frequent-flyer? Add joining an airline loyalty program to the to-do list.

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Studies conducted by Aimia Inc., the owner of Aeroplan rewards and most loyalty programs in Canada, in 2012 showed that approximately 2.3 million rewards were issued to members, roughly a point per 14 seconds, including more than 1.6 million flights on Air Canada and Star Alliance carriers. They offer domestic travel and more than 1,000 destinations worldwide. In addition to flights, the 4.6 million active members also have access to redeem points for merchandise, hotel stays, and car rentals. All merchandise can be redeemed online at Aeroplan.com and items range from clothing to gift cards for Air Canada travel for others. Because Aeroplan is the oldest frequent-flyer program in Canada, they have several partnerships with financial institutions and credit cards where patrons receive points from purchases, such as Toronto Dominion banks, Scotia Bank, and Bank of Montreal. Porter, on the other hand, has not yet set up any partnerships with banks or other companies. While also flying with Star Alliance, Aeroplan members are able to redeem their points for seat upgrades or pre-boarding abilities. Within their loyalty program, there are different tiers of members who have traveled further than 25 kilometers, 35 kilometers, 50 kilometers, and 100 kilometers.

VIPorter, owned by Porter Airlines, competes against Aeroplan’s reward program. VIPorter is marketed towards clients as a faster and more convenient as it automatically starts accumulating points after five flights and your points expire only after four absent years of flying with Porter. VIPorter’s target audience is anyone who travels via plane, as it is directed towards creating a more luxurious, comfortable traveling experience with remarkable yet simplistic perks. Aeroplan’s target audience are business professionals and constant travelers, due to the complex nature of their rewards program, the expiry dates, and the loops one must jump through in order to sign up.

VIPorter is spoken about from the moment you enter the Porter lounge pre-boarding to the moment you land at your final destination to spark an interest in knowing more about the program. Porter hopes that the ease and experience of flying with Porter will drive clients to use the VIPorter program more often, in spite of the fact that individuals are automatically a member after their first flight. Their strategy has proven successful as Porter has opened more terminals throughout Canada and the United States faster than originally proposed in their expansion plans. One major differential between Porter and other airlines is Porter only offers one class; one that emulates first class, whether it is the private lounges, leg room between seats, or food. Therefore, VIPorter points cannot be redeemed for merchandise or upgrading seats, but can be put towards future flights. Porter chose to create their airline in this fashion because they believe individuals should be offered the same traveling experience, no matter what their situation.

Both Aeroplan and VIPorter are effective in promoting their programs while remaining free to use. Travelers with these companies should definitely take advantage of what they have to offer due to their inexpensive nature, and their ability to make traveling a more enjoyable experience.

James Birchall