Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas. And if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.
Hello, and welcome to this week’s short episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. And I almost can’t believe that this is our 250th episode. It’s a milestone I’m incredibly proud of. And I wanted to take the opportunity to let you all know that we’re growing our team, our sponsors, our audience, and also some new ideas on ways that we can all talk loyalty together. So with all that said, we’re already looking forward to the next 250 episodes.
Today, I’m looking back to last April when I Renato Ramos director of loyalty at star Alliance, as many of you know, the Star Alliance is a huge global aviation Alliance with 26 member companies. So it’s a really enormous undertaking to coordinate the loyalty propositions for such a large group.
Renato started by emphasizing his belief in the importance of focusing on share of wallet as a key objective, something he has always focused on when designing any loyalty program or proposition. One important way this can be done is by creating a seamless experience for customers across brands and experiences. Customers might be using different airlines for different reasons, so the Star Alliance ensures the various member programs offer seamless benefits and rewards so that the member airlines all benefit from a greater share of their member’s travel spend.
One of the great ideas he shared with us is that they always aim to offer local benefits for all members, regardless of where the member is traveling to or from. Things like being able to get a cabin upgrade or a cab ride to and from the airport, these unique benefits are compelling for members and keep frequent flyers loyal to the various Star Alliance brands.
We also discussed how the airline industry and travel as a whole had of course changed dramatically due to COVID. With the phrase, the new normal coming up a lot, as you might expect. In particular, business travel was down and we thought it was likely to stay down below pre-COVID levels for some time. But we did both expect to see an early rebound in passenger numbers on the leisure travel side with so much pent-up demand.
Of course, that has proven to be exactly the way that travel patterns have unfolded as we reflect back now in 2022 to that expectation.
Renato also shared how the Star Alliance was adjusting and making changes to their loyalty program to meet the changing needs and dynamics of travelers. For example, we talked about the subscription-based model for loyalty programs and how that might be used in the airline space. For example, the idea of passengers being able to purchase miles every month to save towards a trip that they’re taking at a later date. A subscription-based program when done well, can create a nice stream of revenue for the brand and the possibility of better fairs for members. So it really could be a significant win-win model for members and airlines in equal measure. No matter what industry you’re in. I’m sure you’ve noticed how popular subscription-based loyalty programs are becoming. So I’ll be excited to reconnect with Renato and hear if this idea has progressed. And also all the other wonderful changes that have unfolded in the last 18 months for loyalty in the Star Alliance.
So that’s it for my short summary of this conversation with Renato Ramos and the Star Alliance. If you want to hear the full interview from 2021 it’s letstalkloyalty.com/100. As always, I have new and exciting interviews now for the rest of this week. Tomorrow is the story of digital transformation in the loyalty proposition for the Sandman Group of Hotels. And then on Thursday, I’m learning all about retaining newspaper subscribers with the Irish Times.
That’s it for episode 250. Thanks again for listening to Let’s Talk Loyalty.
This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer. The world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news, insights, and research. The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which has already certified over 245 executives in 27 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals. For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org
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