It can be argued that traveling is more valued now than ever before. The U.S. Travel Association calculated that $761.7 billion was spent in 2018 on leisure travel, which doesn’t factor in the $327.3 billion spent on business-related travel.
Not only does the traveling industry have massive economic benefits, but it is also culturally valued. In such a fast-paced world, people feel an increasingly prevalent itch to escape their day-to-day lives and explore new places. In 2018, there were 2.3 billion personal trips that Americans took for both business and leisure purposes.
Of the 2.3 billion travelers, millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, account for a large portion of that demographic. This generation is commonly recognized for its widespread investment in travel and experiences. Because millennials are the generation that is constantly connected via social media, they are widely influenced by travel apps and the ability to book quickly, efficiently, and with short notice.
So, why does this matter to your travel program? Travel discounts can be a massive contribution towards improving your loyalty program.
Cost matters to everyone.
As the individual managing a loyalty program, you recognize the inherent fact that money is one of the primary factors in the decision-making process. Although traveling is one of the only activities that is shared amongst people regardless of their age, socio-economic status, and background, the financial weight is one of the main aspects of traveling that separates those who can and cannot frequently go on vacation. For example, 77 percent of families indicated that the “best value/price for our budget” was the number one contributor when deciding where to stay on vacation.
By introducing travel discounts to your rewards program, you’ll be catering towards others’ long-term investment in traveling. This does not corner you into a smaller demographic. Instead, the perks of travel discounts can be marketed to all of your customers, because it is a value shared universally within the United States and beyond.
Travel plans often happen after the discount.
Traveling is one of the few investments that often happens after a customer learns about a deal. As of 2017, 74 percent of Americans said they don’t consider booking a vacation until after being inspired by a discount or destination they had not previously considered. This trend will benefit your rewards program because your customers will take advantage of a highly profitable component of your company upon learning about it. Furthermore, introducing travel benefits will create loyalty between your program and your customers, specifically those in their 20’s and 30’s. In 2016, this age range indicated 68 percent “will remain loyal to a program that offers them the most rewards,” which has only increased in the three years since this study was conducted. Travel discounts not only encourage your customers to take advantage of your loyalty program, but also to rely on your service for their long-term investments in traveling.
You can create customers’ trust through partnerships with recognizable brands.
Fifty-seven percent of travelers said they research brands before making travel-related purchases. If your rewards program introduces travel discounts to its services, consider utilizing recognizable names. Mainstream airlines that travel to a wide variety of domestic and international locations will be more enticing to your rewards customers. Also consider creating partnerships with recognizable hotel names. This can be particularly beneficial when marketing to customers that are booking international travel, because they will be more likely to reserve a room with a recognizable hotel brand than an unfamiliar one when staying in a foreign place. By creating relationships with travel brands that your customers already trust, they’ll inherently establish a trust in you as well, merely by association.
Travel discounts mean more than just flights and hotels.
Although travel discounts are mostly associated with hotel and flight discounts, there are many other deals that your program can market to customers as they consider their travel options. Whether traveling for business or leisure, being in a new destination also means accounting for food, attractions, car rentals, retail, and more. If your loyalty program expands its horizons and integrates travel into its deals, then you can actually benefit other services of yours as well. Through intentional marketing, your discounts at restaurants, car rentals, stores, and others can also be promoted.
Expand your loyalty program today.
If you don’t already have travel discounts available in your loyalty program, think about introducing it as a new feature. Not only are these deals predicted to be profitable as an independent service, but it’s also likely to benefit other aspects of your business as well. Travel discounts will allow you to create long-term relationships with your customers and the new companies you’ll be creating partnerships with. Although traveling is a bigger investment compared to smaller discounts with lower monetary value, it’s one of the few long-term purchases that people will consider based on their knowledge of a deal, minimal hidden costs, discovery of new destinations, and ease of navigating the rewards program.
We already know that traveling is a cultural value that’s here to stay, so you might as well give your customers a discounted reason to explore the world around them. As the French novelist, Gustav Flaubert, once said, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Your loyalty program’s travel discounts could be the key towards allowing your customers to travel, and to do so modestly.