Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Loyalty applications and elevated collaboration key options of post-COVID journey

The main barriers to recovery from travel are quarantine requirements, travel restrictions, and fear of concluding COVID-19

  • Restarting loyalty programs across the tourism sector can help draw customers back
  • 32% of customers are “extremely” concerned about their personal financial situation
  • More loyalty program partnerships are likely to be forged across the industry this year

Budget-conscious travelers can be attracted by relaunching loyalty programs across the tourism sector. Various travel companies are now positioning loyalty programs as value-driven, rather than just price-driven, for post-pandemic travel to meet individual needs for budget experiences.

Recent industry surveys found that the top barriers to recovery from travel are quarantine requirements (57%), travel restrictions (55%) and fear of concluding COVID-19 (51%). The fourth obstacle was financial concerns (29%) and the consumer survey in the first quarter of 2021 found that 32% of global respondents were “extremely” concerned about their personal financial situation. This suggests that economic constraints will play an important role for many in planning future trips.

This year, more partnerships are likely to be forged across the industry through loyalty programs that not only show increased collaboration in restoring travel, but also offering a wider range of services to customers. This will help increase sales and recovery while adding value to end users.

An effective loyalty program creates value for the end user, increases the return on investment (ROI) and increases sales for the company in question. Cash protection is one of the primary goals of travel and tourism companies in their attempts to survive the pandemic, but it’s also part of travelers’ future plans. This is where an effective loyalty program that makes customers feel valued can pay off in restoring customer confidence in their travel recovery.

Loyalty programs are not new, but it’s clear that companies across the travel and tourism supply chain are now viewing them as key to retaining customers throughout the pandemic. The more value the offer can offer, the greater the incentive to book or stay with a particular brand.

Travel agents like TripAdvisor and Expedia Group recently launched loyalty programs to encourage more bookings for stays and experiences. In the lodging industry, leading companies like Marriott have also partnered with Uber as part of their Marriott Bonvoy program, which offers more opportunities to earn points for free.

The success of these loyalty programs remains to be seen, but any strategy has the potential to add value to the end user when using these companies.

Given that leading companies in the travel sector are now investing in loyalty programs, it suggests that there is more focus on ROI and value for money when traveling after a pandemic.

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