#301: Loyalty Partnerships - KLM and Air France Flying Blue Program (Short Summary Show)

*Flying Blue* is the frequent flyer programme for Air France and KLM, with over 18 million members around the world, and it’s positioned as a lifestyle programme that drives real commercial value for its partners.

In today’s short episode of “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, I summarize some of the commercial benefits that partners of this program enjoy, as well as some of the latest innovative ideas that it offers its members.

Listen to learn what most impressed me in this interview, based on a clear understanding that only when members benefit does any loyalty programme achieve its goals.

Show Notes:

1) Gerben Sikkema – Director of Partnerships at Air France-KLM

2) Air France – KLM Website 

3) Flying Blue 

4) Let’s Talk Loyalty Episode: #147: Flying Blue from Air France KLM Group – Loyalty & Partnerships Insights

Audio Transcript

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.

This episode is sponsored by Epsilon. Today I’m delighted to announce a unique opportunity for one lucky listener of Let’s Talk Loyalty to enjoy a complimentary workshop with the loyalty experts at Epsilon. One brand every month will have the chance for a unique, independent loyalty lab, a review of your loyalty program where Epsilon will share they’re expert ideas how to drive your program’s performance to a whole new level. This workshop is a powerful way for you to measure and then increase the return on your investment in your loyalty program. So to apply, head over to letstalkloyalty.com/epsilon and enter your details.

Hello and welcome to this week’s short episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and today I firstly want to celebrate another Let’s Talk Loyalty milestone. Now that we’ve published over 300 episodes of the show, and that is something that amazes me. Clearly we wouldn’t be continuing to create this show and release three episodes a week without all of you guys listening.

So first of all, want to say thank you for listening to Let’s Talk Loyalty and Sharing it with your Colleagues. Of course, we’re also dependent on the support of our sponsors. So I want to personally take a moment to say thanks to our friends at Comarch, at Epsilon, at Collinson, at Cheetah Digital and Capillary Technologies. Thanks to you guys for trusting me to bring your amazing products and services to this amazing audience.

Now onto today’s episode. Today I’m reviewing my conversation with Garben Sikkema, Director of Partnerships at Air France and KLMs program, which was recorded in September, 2021. The episode discusses some of my favorite topics, the power of a loyalty program to drive measurable commercial success, and the ways in which to increase the value of your members to your partners using your loyalty program.

Garben introduced Flying Blue for anyone who might not be familiar with it. Flying Blue is the frequent flyer program that belongs to and supports both Air France and klm, and they have 18 million members across five continents. G shared that 45% of revenue for Air France and KLM comes from members of the Flying Blue Program, and he says they aim to drive this up to over 50% of their overall revenue.

Like many frequent flyer programs these days, there are now two main purposes for Flying Blue. Firstly, its core purpose from the outset has been to recognize reward, and of course incentivize frequent flyers to increase their travel with the airlines by enriching their overall travel experie. Secondly, and I’m guessing a more recent goal is that Flying Blue is now focused on engaging its members in their daily lives by building the proposition as an everyday lifestyle program.

G share some of their approach led by the insight that the burn drives the U. And I loved that Flying Blue has completely flipped its focus to ensure that the senior management team and their partners understand the importance of ensuring that members find ways to claim valuable reward. Of course, this inspires them to continually engage with the program and become increasingly loyal over time.

Also, it was really interesting to hear that this is seen as particularly important for members in the early stage of their membership with the program as it helps to build their trust and of course, their lifetime value. Gin also shared that they have a particular focus on driving the opportunity to burn with their partners in their checkout journeys.

And I was super impressed with this idea, as we all know how fantastic it is to experience paying for our flight using cash and miles. So to have this on a partner website is something much more difficult to achieve technically, but I can imagine it’s adding a huge wow factor for members of the Flying Blue program even on the earning side.

Flying Blue is increasingly focused on new and innovative partnerships beyond the expected co-brand cards and complimentary travel brands. Gin tells me they’re also increasingly focused on retail partner. And with that proposition, customers can shop their favorite brands and earn their miles as above.

This makes perfect sense given the objective of becoming more of a lifestyle program. In closing, we talked about some of the newer ideas that Flying Blue was working on and how important its role became throughout the Global Pandemic. A key insight for the future was the increasing importance of linking loyalty with payments.

So Flying Blue was already working on their card linking functionality as a really compelling solution for its members. We also touched on some of their sustainability campaigns and ideas that we all know are an essential area of focus for all brands, not just airline. I truly enjoy this episode and their focus on how the burn drives the excitement to earn.

So I encourage you all to listen to the full episode again to get a better understanding of how KLM and Air France were developing Flying Blue in September of 2021. So you can listen to that full episode at letstalkloyalty.com/147. It’s also a great time to listen back as we actually have Flying Blue coming back on the show in December this year, 2022.

So it’s the perfect time for you to have this background and context before listening to the latest updates for 2022 and on in to 2023. That’s it for today’s short episode. Thank you for listening, and please do join me tomorrow where I’ll be listening to Chris Ross, who is the president of EMEA for Collinson, sharing his perspective as a relative newcomer to the loyalty industry.

Then on Thursday, I’m back with Amanda Cromhout, who is sharing her latest loyalty white paper research from South Africa. Thanks to you all and have a great week.

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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