Loyalty Will Always Be Rewarded

18.June 2013

Our Journey

With so many choices for every type of product in our consumer-driven world, it seems that in the constant fight to get the best price, people are forgetting about an important concept that can work out in their favour: brand loyalty.

You can’t blame people for clambering to get the cheapest deal: the buy one get one free offers at the supermarket, the t-shirt that you saw a week ago reduced in price by seventy-five percent, heading out to start your night as soon as you finish work as your favourite bar has happy hour until 7pm and prices double after that. Those kinds of money-saving manoeuvres are always a sensible idea – bars don’t usually offer any schemes along the lines of ‘buy nine Black Russians and get the tenth free’ to keep their customers loyal.

So, when does it pay to be loyal? When it comes to booking your holiday. The best schemes for rewarding customers and their loyalty are usually the brain-children of smart cookies working in the travel industry. Hotels and airlines know that, more often than not, you have a lot of choices when it comes to deciding on where to stay or who to fly with, and they need to come up with ways of rewarding those who offer them repeat business by offering the most attractive schemes.

Take Star Alliance, for example. A network of airlines which includes the likes of Air Canada, Copa Airlines, Lufthansa, Asiana and Singapore Air, you earn miles by travelling with any one of the twenty-seven Star Alliance member airlines. Flying with Star Alliance airlines means that miles build up, and those with Gold Status enjoy priority check-in and boarding, no excess luggage fees, and even a glass of champagne prior to boarding. How do you get to Gold Status, however? Through loyalty and commitment to a particular brand.

Hotels also offer great benefits to customers who offer them repeat business. The likes of Premier Inn and Travelodge regularly offer free nights and heavily discounted stays to those who choose to stay with them on a regular basis. Luxury hotel brands like Marriott, Westin and Hyatt all vie for repeat custom from those who pass through their doors and, like so many airlines and alliances, offer different benefits for different tiers of loyalty, with points accrued from multiple stays or taking advantage of special promotions. Westin, for example, have a points system where customers can upgrade to special suites, free of charge, at check-in.

Loyalty isn’t just a one-way street, however. These days, brands are engaging with their customers on social media like never before, ironing out any problems, answering questions, and often having friendly chit-chat with people who are offering feedback or have indicated that they’ll be using their services. If you’ve had a problem with an airline, tweet at them – you’ll likely get an apology in response, which not only makes you feel better, but makes you feel like the brand cares about you as a customer and as someone who has chosen to use their services.

Next time you’re carrying out holiday research; for a flight deal online or looking what hotel to stay at, really consider your options. Maybe a certain ticket might cost thirty pounds more, but if you know you’ll use them a lot and they have a great benefit scheme, you’ll end up saving money in the long-term. Everyone wants to save a few pennies but remember, that valiant yet oft-forgotten value of loyalty does still count for something. When it comes to travel, you reap the coins that you sow.

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