#451: Investigating Airline Loyalty Programs (Short Summary Show)

Today, “Let’s Talk Loyalty” meets airline industry thought-leader Mark Ross-Smith, CEO at Loyalty Status Co.  Listen in to hear Tom summarise Mark’s key insights on global airline loyalty programmes.

Tom’s highlights include airline programs role, positioning, and potential for greater profits.  It’s a fascinating discussion about innovative ideas to drive customer loyalty and how brands can learn from other industries such as the gaming.

Hosted by⁠ Tom Peace 

Show Notes:

1) Mark Ross Smith

2) ⁠⁠⁠Loyalty Status Co⁠⁠

3) #257: Airline Loyalty Programs – their Role, Positioning and Potential for Even Greater Profits

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m Paula Thomas, the founder of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Today’s episode is hosted by Tom Peace, Managing Director of the Loyalty People, a strategic consultancy with a laser focus on loyalty, CRM, and customer engagement.

The Loyalty People also runs a free global community for anyone working in the loyalty industry. If you’re working in loyalty marketing, make sure to join Let’s Talk Loyalty every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to hear the latest ideas from loyalty experts around the world.

Capillary’s loyalty solutions offer AI powered, next generational technology, making them a catalyst for enabling meaningful human connections across the globe. The platform is deep and wide, yet flexible enough to meet the needs of any company looking to take its customer loyalty to new heights. Visit capillarytech. com now to see how they can transform your loyalty future.

Tom: Hi, I’m Tom Peace, Managing Director of The Loyalty People and presenter of Let’s Talk a Little Loyalty. Welcome to this week’s short summary show. This week, I’ll be reviewing the original interview between Paula and Mark Ross Smith, CEO at Loyalty Status Co. Listen in to hear my summary of Mark’s key insights on global airline loyalty programs.

This was a fascinating discussion about innovative ideas to drive customer loyalty and how brands can learn from other industries, such as the gaming industry. The first thing I loved about this particular podcast is that Mark initially talks about how the gaming industry has created extremely loyal and engaged customers and how within this industry music plays an important part in creating ambience and an emotional connection with the player.

I’d never thought about this, but I must admit that this is very true. Going back to my gaming days playing Gran Turismo, and one particular track, Book Rogers by Theda, still takes me back to those days racing against friends in the living room.

Yes, that’s right. Back in those days, you actually had to be in the same room to play against each other.

Mark talks about how perhaps music could be used within the boarding process to create an emotional connection with the customer through an airline. Could this be an innovation we see in the near future, perhaps? One key challenge for airlines is understanding a customer’s loyalty to the brand. A frequent flyer may seem loyal, but an airline might still be gaining a small share of wallet for this particular flyer, especially if they’re a real jet setter.

Mark talks about how airlines can understand this through a co branded credit card or through an innovation with telco operators, where they let airlines know when someone has traveled abroad, but perhaps has not flown with that airline. A very clever use of geolocation data. Mark also talks about the value of loyalty to an airline. The pandemic really highlighted this as many airlines use their air miles programs to generate revenue and demonstrate shareholder value at a time when they couldn’t trade. Loyalty programs are profitable growth strategies for any business, but especially in airline where many businesses have secured finance against the value of their loyalty program. And can generate strong returns based on their engaged customer air miles value.

Because of the value of loyalty to an airline, loyalty programs are definitely a C suite role and Mark talks about how important it is for all brands, not just airlines to engage loyalty at a senior level. This is great insight and we are seeing this more and more across all industries.

Loyalty used to be a division of marketing within a business and not often discussed at a C suite level. However, with the escalating costs of acquisition, brands are now really looking at loyalty as a profit center and a very important route to growth. It’s great to hear Mark reaffirm this in airline, especially.

This has been a great show to review as it highlights the value and importance of loyalty, not just within an airline program, but for all sectors, you can find the main show at www. letstalkloyalty. com. Which first aired on the 3rd of August, 2022, episode number 257. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed my summary show.

All the best and speak soon, Tom.

Paula: 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 is already certified over 500 executives in 38 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.

For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org

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