Carlson hired to renovate the Sky Pearl Club
China Southern Airlines has contracted Carlson Marketing China to renovate its existing 'Sky Pearl Club' frequent flyer loyalty programme, based on the company's local knowledge and experience of global best practice.
According to China Southern, Carlson was appointed because it has demonstrated an innovative approach to loyalty programmes and cross-channel marketing. The Sky Pearl Club programme currently claims more than 3.1 million members, and is already growing at an average rate of 800 new members per day. Carlson's stated task is "to make the Sky Pearl Club into the best frequent flyer programme in China".
Shift to customer-centricity As part of its approach, the Carlson Marketing team, based in a new office in Shanghai, aims to shift the programme from a product-centric approach to a customer-driven approach.
Mr Gabi Kool, Carlson Marketing's executive vice president for Asia Pacific, explained: "At the moment, most frequent flyer programmes - and loyalty programmes in general - are still product driven, stipulating many rules and conditions that customers must comply with. Our work will not simply be about programme design but will also involve mapping out the current customer experience at every touch point, and identifying opportunities for improvement, while providing the change management expertise necessary to create a switch in mentality across all business processes in the airline."
Six month target The consultancy deal will last for six months, during which Carlson will examine the whole frequent flyer programme, from programme design to systems, data and operations. The agency is also to provide consultative support during the implementation phase of the project.
China Southern has existing partnership agreements with other international airlines such as Northwest Airlines and China Airlines, through which Sky Pearl Club members can earn and redeem mileage for award travel. The airline also has other travel-related partners such as Marriott Rewards, Shangri-la Resorts and Hotels, InterContinental Hotels, Hertz Rent A Car, Best Western and Ctrip.com, through which members can earn bonus miles and upgrades.