FFPs not meeting members' needs & desires

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on October 29, 2009

FFPs not meeting members' needs & desires

A surprisingly wide chasm separates what elite frequent flyers want from a loyalty programme and what they actually get, according to a white paper from loyalty programme experts at Carlson Marketing and Peppers & Rogers Group.

The white paper, entitled 'Better business results from elite frequent flyers', was based on a survey of nearly 5,000 frequent flyer programme (FFP) members from four different airlines, and determined which FFP elements are most important in securing the loyalty of elite members.

The programme attributes that are most important to elite flyers are the ease of redeeming travel awards, and the ability to earn free access to the airline's lounge. Among the least important attributes are the ability to redeem miles for non-airline rewards, and to earn miles through non-airline partners.

However, these elite member preferences are in sharp contrast to non-elite members' preferences, as the non-elite group traditionally responds better to non-airline rewards and partners - perhaps because they are easier to earn for those who fly either less often or always in economy class.

The research also found that increased loyalty programme quality produced direct financial results, such as a fourfold increase in the passenger's likelihood to fly more with the airline, and an improvement in share-of-wallet among all airlines flown.

In addition, other benefits observed from an improved loyalty programme included:

  • A reduction in the number of other airlines flown;  
  • A willingness to forego benefits that other airlines might offer;  
  • A twofold increase in the likelihood to recommend the airline;  
  • An anticipated 16% increase in usage of the airline's partners.

According to Luc Bondar, global vice president of loyalty for Carlson Marketing, "Airlines must meet the needs of their best customers, the elite frequent flyers, through their loyalty programmes. This collection of benefits represents a solid business case for investments to improve the experience of elite members."

The full white paper has been made available for free download from Carlson Marketing's web site - click here (free registration required).

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