Rewards and frequent flier programs carry massive monetary value for airlines. A strong travel rewards program increases customer loyalty while generating revenue. But, if your rewards member base isn’t growing or points and miles aren’t being spent, it may be time to look for a new provider.
Are you seeking higher commissions and margins, or do you believe a wider breadth of inventory would improve program performance? Maybe you’re not sure what the solution is. The answer likely lies in finding the right provider and partner for your business. And that begins with airlines answering these five questions about their goals, program and priorities.
5 questions airlines must answer before searching for a new travel rewards provider:
- What am I hoping to achieve by changing providers? Answering this question should align with your broader business and program goals. The ultimate goal is generating revenue while increasing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Consider some additional objectives that will help your brand reach that goal. Is your member base stagnant? How often are your members attaching ancillary products? What about their points banks — are most of them full of unspent points? Those are all indicative of a poorly performing program that needs to focus on specific areas of improvement like member engagement, growth and point spend.
- What is the budget? Changing providers isn’t cheap. When developing a budget, factor in the costs of resources needed to make a major change, like training and technological resources. A new program will require these types of integrations, site or API maintenance costs and should be factored into your overall budget for hiring a new provider.
- What content or inventory do my members need? Airlines typically focus on ancillary products like Wi-Fi, preferred seats, meals and baggage fees. But is your breadth of offerings wide enough that your customers can stay on your site to book everything they need or want for their trip? The more products an airline can offer to earn and burn points (like hotels, car rentals and activities), the more valuable the program is to the customer and the airline.
- Who should own the user interface throughout the booking path? And is owning the site and user interface something that’s of utmost importance to you? If so, be sure to talk to your potential provider about available API solutions. If you don’t have the technological resources to build and host a site, consider vendors that can provide a branded white label platform for you.
- Is globalization important? Globalization of content (worldwide properties and sites that are designed to be compatible with multiple languages) isn’t important to most domestic airlines. For international airlines, multiple languages, currencies, global properties are crucial. Look for a supplier that has the inventory and capabilities to represent all the destinations your airline flies to.
After you’ve nailed these down, you’ll likely begin your search. Use these five questions as part of your vetting process to ensure you find a travel rewards provider that aligns with your priorities, can improve your program and will help you grow your business.