#432: Skyjoy from Vietnam - A Fascinating Coalition featuring Vietjet and HD Bank from Sovico Group Vietnam

Today’s podcast features an amazing country and an amazing airline-led loyalty program that is not even one year old!

Skyjoy is the program name for a coalition program created in late 2022 by Sovico Group based in Vietnam, leveraging some of their key businesses including Vietjet, their low-cost airline, and HD Bank.

Paula Thomas is joined for this conversation by Sereen Teoh, CEO of Skyjoy, to share both the successes and some of the challenges in creating such a huge coalition program across hundreds of partners, and in such a short space of time.

Sereen is also a speaker at the Loyalty and Awards conference taking place in Brazil in October, so listen to get an exciting insight on what they have already achieved and what you can expect from her presentation at the event!

Show Notes:

1) Sereen Teoh

2) Skyjoy

3) Sovico Group⁠

4) Loyalty and Awards conference

Audio Transcript

Paula: 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 show is brought to you by the Loyalty and Awards Conference, the leading annual event for loyalty professionals in the travel industry. Make sure to join us this year from the 9th to the 11th of October in Rio de Janeiro for the perfect mix of inspiring content and exciting awards. 

Check out loyalty-and-awards.com for more information and to register.

Hello, and welcome to today’s podcast, where we focus on an amazing country and an amazing airline loyalty program that is not even one year old. SkyJoy is the program name for a new coalition program created by some key businesses based out of Vietnam from the Sovico Group including Vietjet, their low cost carrier, and HDBank.

I’m joined for this conversation by Sereen Teoh, the CEO of SkyJoy. And she shares both the successes and some of the challenges in creating such a huge coalition program across hundreds of partners and in a short space of time. Sereen and I were introduced to each other by the team running The Loyalty and Awards Conference next month in Brazil.

So today, I hope you get an exciting insight on what she’s already achieved with her team and what you can expect from her presentation at the event next month. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Sereen Teoh from SkyJoy.

So, Sereen Teoh, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

Sereen: Thank you, Paula. 

Paula: Wonderful to have you joining us here today from Vietnam. What city are you actually based in, Sereen? 

Sereen: I’m actually based in Ho Chi Minh City, currently, south of Vietnam. 

Paula: Okie dokie. I have never been to Vietnam, Sereen. You’ll have to forgive me, but certainly as part of my preparation for this conversation, I’ve been doing lots of research and it’s very inspiring.

So listen, let’s get into the conversation that we’re here to share. As you know, we always start the conversation trying to understand what is your favorite loyalty program so we can see what inspires you to create the SkyJoy program. 

Sereen: Sure. I, I guess that from the beginning of my career life, I always loved the Singapore Airline Kris Flyer mouse. So everything I spend on daily, I will only with one goal. The travel goal is to unlock the four tickets to summer holiday and the winter holiday for my family. So I have actually two young kids, so that is always our yearly agenda. 

Paula: Wow. Wow. And I think you described yourself actually as a points junkie. And I can hear that you are absolutely laser focused on the behavior that’s required in order to achieve those redemption tickets. So well done you. That’s a lovely level of focus. 

Sereen: Thank you. 

Paula: Very exciting. Great. So listen, you know, there’s so much I want to talk about today. Again, I don’t think Vietnam is really on my radar from a loyalty perspective. As a country, I can see it’s absolutely incredible over a hundred million people. So bigger than the countries like the UK, for example.

And this program is very new, highly innovative and really doing some extraordinary things at a pace, honestly, I wouldn’t have believed to be possible Sereen. So I think you must have some sort of a magic wand that I want to really get a sense of today to understand the SkyJoy program. 

But listen to get started, I think the first thing is would you mind explaining VietJet, I suppose, the airline that is leading on this coalition program, and maybe just some context in terms of where this loyalty initiative is coming from for consumers in Vietnam. 

Sereen: Sure. So maybe just to give you some background about this program, we started this program in September, 5th of September, where I actually physically migrate to Vietnam. I’m a Malaysian Chinese, but because of this job, so I move here and started this program in September. And in just three months period, we actually successfully launched the Sky Joy app, right? For the technical launch during the Vietjet birthday. 

So the whole Sky Program is actually centered around loyalty program for a low cost airline, which is Vietjet. Vietjet is our anchor to start this program, and I think maybe just to give a bit of background about Vietjet. Vietjet currently is the biggest market share in Vietnam in terms of domestic and international flight where we have 42 percent of the market share currently. And this year Vietjet is target to actually travel about 26 million of passenger where 11 million, about 11 million is going to be unique member where we will onboard them into the SkyJoy platform.

And I think maybe you could also notice that Vietjet is still very young airline. Aircraft is actually very young and very new, very eco friendly. We have about 100 planes now and travel to about 120 domestically and also internationally. And every day, I think we have about 400 daily flights to domestic and international.

Paula: Amazing.

Sereen: Maybe this is something that the, the consumer will actually be very interested on the route for the international route is actually Bangkok and South Korea and Japan. So South Korea and Japan, I can say that it’s quite a unique route for Vietjet. So it’s actually quite popular. 

Paula: Yes. Yes. So all around Southeast Asia, based in Ho Chi Minh City. And I can imagine it was a huge decision for you to move from your home country of Malaysia and to get yourself, you know, set up and established as the CEO to run this particular loyalty program. So how does it feel to be settling in Ho Chi Minh? 

Sereen: Yes, it’s definitely a big decision to actually migrate the especially also migrating my family from Malaysia to Ho Chi Minh.

So, I do see that there’s a lot of opportunity here is that what I see in Vietnam is that 10 years ago of China, where there is actually a huge population. I think just now you have also mentioned about this. 100 million of passenger 100 million of population here. So it’s actually a lot of opportunity to actually grow this guide program. Not only actually offline, but also digitally, because I think there’s still a lot of room for digitalization for this hundred percent of passengers. So this is always my passion about this.

Paula: Wonderful. Great. So, the program itself is SkyJoy. And again, there’s absolutely so much that I want to explore because there really is a lot of innovation.

But before we leave VietJet, actually I think the key things that amazed me when I was researching it, is, of course, it is a low cost carrier, as you’ve said, with incredible passenger numbers and statistics in terms of the amount of travel that’s happening for the airline itself. But I did notice, you know, two things that are probably quite different to the low cost carriers that I might be familiar with.

So the first is that you do have a business class product. Which I do think is quite unexpected you know, I’m really, you know, thinking about Ryanair, you know, back in my home country is the low cost carrier. There’s no talk about business class there. They’re talking about instead, maybe taking all the seats out and making people stand on the aircraft. So I don’t think there’s any parallel with you guys there. 

But then also for a low cost carrier to have a frequent flyer program, particularly a coalition one, I think is a super exciting. Give us a sense of, I suppose, the type of partner portfolio that you started with, because I know it’s grown already again in in a very short amount of time, but I know you do have a banking partner.

I’m not sure if they’re part of the business, part of your group or purely a marketing partner. So can you explain the airline led, but banking proposition just so that we understand how closely the 2 are connected. 

And just for the audience, what blew me away, you know, when I was preparing for this was the depth of the proposition for the banking side. Because I’m used to seeing it on the airline side and have much less exposure on the banking side. So yeah, please tell us about the banking part as related to the, the airline program. 

Sereen: Sure, sure. So I think SkyJoy actually start up with inspired to be actually number one airline lifestyle loyalty program in Vietnam. That’s our main focus. Ultimately we will be the one stop loyalty gateway across the world. Right. And the SkyJoy startup intended to be The Group Loyalty program. The Group Loyalty means, so Wego Group. 

So, Wego Group is a very big conglomerate in Vietnam where it’s actually has six major industry from the logistic, from the aviation, like and venture cargo to the finance or banking like HDBank, where we are also the loyalty operator for HDBank. And also we have real estate hospitality like hotel residency. So those are the under the real estate and hospitality. And we also have digital business. We put all the digital business under Galaxy Holding.

And we also have healthcare where we call it Dr. Abolid, where they have actually serving quite a lot of testing during the COVID, the pandemic COVID, and they have two clinics there as well. And also, I think the other pillar that we have is actually solar and energy like Petrolimex and the PV OIL where it’s actually the day to day spending on the petroleum, right?

So SkyJoy  started with the intentions to be the group loyalty program. That’s why we actually embarking the two big stakeholders, which is the VieJet, the low cost airline loyalty program into this platform, which is also our angle to start with. And then we move on to HDBank, which is a bank loyalty program.

So we call it HDBank Loyalty because we are not restricted or constrained with only one bank, but the intention is actually to extend to maybe 80, 90 percent of the bank in Vietnam as well. So that we can actually cover 90 percent of the bank that the members can actually do the points conversion from the other loyalty program, the in the bank to the SkyPoint so that they can actually redeem for a meaningful flight tickets or 250 brands that we already bring on board.

For the vouchers, services, and goods that they can actually redeem, like a cup of coffee in Highland Coffee, Starbucks, maybe more familiar to you is Starbucks coffee. So all those be ready on board into the platform. 

Paula: Amazing. Amazing. And the words that really struck me actually, Sereen, in the actual introductory deck that you sent me about SkyJoy was a really nice word, which I already understood, but actually I really liked it as applied to loyalty. And you basically described sky joy as a flywheel, and I thought, I know what that word means, but what does it mean from a loyalty perspective? 

So I just did a bit of Googling and actually HubSpot had a nice explanation and they basically said that like a flywheel is a model adapted to explain the momentum that you get when you align your whole organization structure around delivering a remarkable customer experience. And they said it’s remarkable at storing and releasing energy. And that’s exactly the impression that I’m getting from SkyJo. Is that exactly what you intended? 

Sereen: Yes, I think you’re absolutely right. We started with the whole flywheel will is actually started with the strong customer base that in the Sovico Group, right? So in total, Sovico Group, I can say that we have 20 million of customer from about 12 million unique customer and the HDBank is about 8 million bank customer. So we started this flywheel with the strong customer base within the Sovico Group and strong inventory that I can get the flight inventory.

And which is also my ankle, the hero product that I can get from VietJet, like example fixed points by hours, redemption, and also the final deal, which is a distress inventory that could be up to 90 percent discount. So those are the things that really give me the foundations to start with.

And also the banking products, I think we are the first bank we are the first loyalty program in Vietnam that is actually offer quite we have already rolled out the eight products in banking that you can actually, when you transact with the HDBank, you can actually the points, like example, from loan product to saving product to Casa to banker product, like the insurance to bond and to credit card. You can actually earn points and you were indirectly SkyPoints when we say that we are the group loyalty means that under one single leadership, under one single loyalty management system, also under one single point currency, which is we call SkyPoint. Everything will actually issue SkyPoints for this whole ecosystem of the Sovico Group.

So this is an issue when we started this flywheel. And then after that with the strong foundations of the customer base and the inventory that I can get from the Vietjet, then we start to, we start to explore into the to bring into the external partner. Like example, Grab or Gawa, Samsung so into the platform so that the members can actually earn points from their daily spending. And can have a meaningful limitless redemption with the flight products. And also vouchers, services and goods that they intended to actually redeem, right? Because not everyone actually loves the flight or is the flight segment or the travel segment. There’s still a certain group of people, they like to actually have their, they like to accumulate points for their other needs.

Like example ladies like Dyson hairdryer. So you might actually wait for the, maybe the points to redeem for the Dyson hairdryer, right? Like I’m also using the Dyson hairdryer. So I can imagine that there’s a lot of ladies that she loves to use the, this product, right? So this is how the we, we actually eventually venture into the collation loyalty program to bring in the target is to actually bring in like 300 plus partners into the platform so that they can have earning the SkyPoint on their everyday spending and they can limitless redemption to the flag to get a key product. 

Yeah, after that, we actually build a whole loyalty, one loyalty app that consists from the earning to the redemption. So that the members can actually do everything in one app rather than you have to jump out and jump out, jump in and jump out the app, right? 

So, so far I think some of the key key achievement that I can probably say of is like, in the half one itself, we have already launched the 12 products in the market. Well, I think this is actually from my experience. I guess I can see that this will take about two years to launch all the 12 products, but make it like six month period. So it’s actually I’m actually quite happy and quite proud of this. 

Paula: Incredible. Absolutely. I almost don’t know which question to ask you first, Sereen, but the simple one, what is your member base now? Here we’re recording in August, 2023. So, and I know you had your technical launch only in December, 2022 with the formal launch in market, I know to the members in May of 2023. So tell us what your membership numbers are at, given that you are less than one year old. 

Sereen: So in just last short, short period of seven months, which is like we launched in end of December and to 31st of July, we have already 9 million of member.

And I’ll, I’ll, this I can say that about 6.4 million are from the flyer, who fly with the Vietjet. And 2 million is from the HDBank, which is a banking sector where we did the Sovico Group. Right. And another 500 K is actually from the organic growth from the outside and from the partners that we acquire into the platform.

And oh, of this 9 million members, we have about 1 million of the money active user. When I say about money active user means that every month they have one earn or burn transactions in the past one month. So majority of it is still with the Vietjet because we are, Vietjet is our anchor partner to start with, right? And About 800 case, actually, the money active from Vietjet and then about 100 from the bank and the rest is actually from the outside. 

And interestingly, when I look at the data that we already on boarded the 9 million of members, 77 percent are actually from the two target market segment that we are actually intended to be on board, which is actually the primary segment that we targeted is actually the millennials, where they are office worker, they are the current revenue generator, which is 53 percent of it.

And the GenZ is a secondary market that we target for, which we cannot know them because they are the future revenue generator. They could be like students and first jobber currently, but it will be the future revenue generator. So it’s about 23 percent of it. That’s why in total we have 77 percent of it is actually the millennials and GenZ. So this is actually I believe a lot of partners outside will be actually very interested on this segment because it’s the revenue generator. 

In terms of another interesting findings that I find from our data of the member there’s 74 percent of the member base. Actually the family or the group travel up like they travel with friends and family and only 26 percent travel alone or individual.

So, I think there’s a lot of banking products that we can target for this family banking. There’s a lot of products that are outside there. We can actually target for this segment. So, yeah, I’m actually quite interesting data that I find out from our past seven months. 

Paula: Yes. Incredible. The piece, I suppose, you know, everything is impressive, Sereen. So, so totally excited about, about what you’ve achieved. So, just for my clarity to make sure I understand. So, the overall group is Sovico. The airline, which is the anchor partner is Vietjet and yeah, and HDBank is another group company. So it is within the same group. And I think that’s actually just important, Sereen, because we’ve all experienced, I suppose, the challenges of negotiating with partnerships.

And making sure that everyone has that single vision of the customer in order to achieve that flywheel effect that you, you know, articulated so beautifully. So, I think that there is so much benefit, of course, within a group organization. And the question I wanted to ask, did either the airline or the bank, did they have a loyalty program before that you replaced with SkyJoy , or is it the first time that they’re building loyalty for these two huge businesses?

Sereen: Sure, VietJet they don’t have loyalty program in the past. I think the group has actually tried to establish this in March 2020, but unfortunately it’s all two and a half years is always stuck at the strategy level. So they bring down to load up into the execution and to launch this program.

So when I was here in September, I bring it down from the strategy to roll it out in December in just a three month period. So I think this is something that is also incredible, but of course, along the way, like what you say, being a group loyalty program is not easy. There’s a lot of two and four negotiations. There’s a lot of hardship that had to go through and to actually get this negotiation done. Right.

Especially I think when you come to the cost benefits effectiveness, I think whether it’s a venture or the HDBank, they are still a public listed company. So it’s actually very tough on the negotiations and how to influence things through this whole process to launch the these two program in just a short period of three months is really, really a lot of hard work.

Paula: Honestly, it’s, it’s quite unbelievable. And particularly, and you’ve already explained it to us, but for me, again, if I’ve seen any bank, banking or financial institutions with loyalty propositions, they tend to be focused on single products. Of course, usually the co brand card is the most profitable, the most obvious place to start.

But I think you said there’s nine different bank products from, you know, do I have a loan? Do I have insurance? You know, obviously all of the card products as well, but every single aspect of the banking relationship with HDBank has a separate earn proposition in terms of earning SkyPoints. So that in itself, I think is a remarkable achievement.

And again, given the fact that the airline piece is there to inspire people. That of course makes it very compelling, but of course, as you’ve articulated, the challenge is to make sure that the business case does make sense for all of the partners. 

So talk to us just a bit about I suppose the redemption side as well, Sereen, you’ve mentioned the hairdryer, which I actually am in the market for. So I’m quite amused that you do have this this focus as well, I suppose on just, you know, traditional products that, you know, might’ve been found in a catalogue, for example, but physical products for a digital loyalty program, and particularly the complexity around what you mentioned of, you know, selling distressed inventory or allowing that capacity to be booked with SkyPoints, was that complex?

Because to me, that’s also a different proposition from the, you know, the opportunity to redeem for a free flight, which again, we’re all familiar with, but you’ve done it to a whole other level. So, is that the first time? Did you guys develop that concept or where did that idea come from? 

Sereen: Okay. I think maybe a bit of background by myself. I actually come from Asia Rewards program. So Asia Rewards Program is also a low cost airline in the market. Actually Asia Rewards Program has also ventured into the collation loyalty program. And it’s actually have multiple I can see that there’s multiple way you can earn points. And there’s also a lot of redemption product that you can actually redeem for. So the inspiration is always come from this low cost airline collection loyalty program where I bring the outside in to actually experience to build this program as well. But of course, different market will have different challenges. Yeah.

So I, I guess I think a lot of challenges around the lab and you actually set up the collation loyalty program. I think airline is still internal. The tougher part for the airline to bring on board is about what kind of inventory, how much is a cost that the airline has to bear and how much is the return that it can get back.

So as long as this sorted out, I think it’s actually quite naturally, it will actually come to this loyalty program. But on the vouchers, physical goods and services, I guess there’s actually a lot of hard work that actually have to be put in as well, because it’s not a norm in the market to have or to bring in 250 plus of the brands to actually redeem in the platform, right?

So like who take care of the delivery, right? That is also one of the questions that you need to sort out. So who take care of the delivery of the physical goods or when you actually scan the voucher in the counter. How if I say there’s any problem, how, who do you reach out, what customer service, who handle what I think those are the challenges that we actually need to actually go through before we launch the program.

So I think we have actually already go through this circle. And we actually the first phase actually we bring in into the platform when we launch a SkyJoy  app is actually on the vouchers, goods and services, the physical goods and services for redemption, because those are the things that I can see that is more straightforward in terms of configuration.

But in terms of like Redemption, we actually take another few more months to actually launch it because there’s a lot of integration with the airline reservation system actually needed. And to actually firm up the inventory of distress inventory and non distress inventory is also a lot of work that have to be actually put in between the two teams to actually managing it, right?

Especially the post pandemic, post pandemic impact on the airline is quite significant. Like I can say that pre COVID, the booking curve for the people to book the ticket is very in advance early. But post pandemic, the trend has been changed. So people don’t book in advance on the ticket. People book in only near to the travel date. So it’s a nightmare for a CEO. If let’s say you are the airline CEO, because you can’t sleep, because your ticket cannot sell, right? 

Paula: No, it’s a really good insight. So the fact that you can actually really notice a distinct change in that willingness to book in advance, I suppose I’m somebody that again, I suppose living here in Dubai, we didn’t have nearly as bad an impact in terms of lockdown as many other markets around the world. So even though my behavior in terms of travel was impacted in 2020 and 2021, you know, I feel I recovered my behavior back to, you know, exactly the same. But the fact that you’re seeing very definitely a shorter booking window is really important to note.

And in the context, of course, as the CEO of a loyalty program that wants to essentially allow redemptions for distressed inventory. So I can’t even imagine the conversations with revenue management to really understand what is distressed inventory if you know that you’re already selling at the last minute. So that is again, a remarkable achievement and to be able to take it to market.

I think you said to me before, when we met in preparation for today that the consumers in Vietnam are very savvy, very well educated, certainly seem to understand the loyalty propositions. And great to hear that you are focusing actually both on millennials, which, you know, I tend to wish I was one, but I know I’m not. But they certainly would be you know, traditionally, you know, they do spend a lot of money traveling and of course, Gen Z. But I think some of the full service carriers probably focus less on Gen Z, at least overtly, because perhaps they’re not spending as yes, they’re, they’re kind of more future spenders.

So, yeah, a lot there and, and I guess to get the revenue management colleagues from VietJet to, to actually release that inventory so that you can offer it for redemption at, I think you set up to 90% on what the revenue fair would be. I think that’s absolutely extraordinary, and again, very exciting I guess for, for people in the SkyJoy program. 

So, will you talk us through, you know, just this the principles, Sereen, that you’ve got. I know, again, you sent me this wonderful deck, and I will say for everyone listening, because there is so much innovation, particularly in the SkyJoy program. 

Sereen has kindly given us permission that we can share this powerpoint presentation. So if anybody does want to reach out and get the full end to end pitch there’s a very comprehensive deck. So certainly anyone in airline loyalty, who’s listening, you can email me. Of course, my simple email address is paula@letstalkloyalty.com because I really don’t want anyone to miss out on the depth of thinking that’s gone into this PowerPoint presentation deck. And we can’t do justice to it all in a, in a, you know, 14 minute conversation.

But that’s a long way around to say you do have some wonderful principles, Sereen. So, you know, and that comes from, I suppose, both the member side and the partner side in terms of prioritizing how this program is going to be successful and achieve that flywheel effect that you are so proud of. And it’s clearly working. 

So will you just give us a quick sense of what those principles are? I think you call them the five E’s for your members and the five C’s for your partners. So would you just quickly explain exactly what those focus areas are to give us a sense of how you’re getting to achieve these remarkable results?

Sereen: So we call it 5E and 5C. 5C for the partner side is because I think most of the partners come to us. Because of this 5C, right? So the 5C, the first C is actually customer acquisition, right? Because we have a huge customer base, like we have 9 million members now. And I guess they can actually have a direct access to these 9 million members. So this is first C that I talk about the customer acquisition, right? 

And the second one is actually customer retention, because I think a lot of this is not something that is very different in the market. I think a lot of point based loyalty rewards program is actually how to use this point based rewards program to attract the people, to stay within the ecosystem, to create this and retention, to continue to spend with you, that I’m a typical point junkie. Whatever way that can actually earn me this flyer, I will actually go for it. Right. Like, I will only call for grab food. Grab is the right healing in this part of the world. And I will call Grab e healing. I will call the grab food because it can actually convert the points to crisp my mouth. So this is create a stickiness, right and the retention. 

And another C is cost optimization because we can be the loyalty program for the partner and they no need to incur. The team to set up the team there, no need to actually incur the CapEx cost, the huge CapEx cost to invest in the loyalty management system. That’s why you just keep flat and play and you can actually be having your loyalty program. So this is how we do for Vietjet loyalty program and also the HDBank loyalty program. And yeah, so this is the third C that we are talking about here. 

And yeah, maybe because of the time consuming, I just zoom into the 5E that talk about the member site. Right. So the first key is we talking about like, whether you can actually earn the SkyPoint everywhere you go every day.

So, and then you have exclusive deals for the flight deals that up to 90 percent discount. You can actually have exclusive deals up to like 70, 80 percent discount for all the goods or services for redemption. 

Like example, recently we have actually launched in the SkyJoy app to actually have a 75 percent discount on the Samsung voucher. So basically you can get your phone with 75 percent discount if you accumulate for the full points. So this E that we talking about here, exclusive deals for the flight redemption and also the voucher redemption. Yeah, example of the 5E and 5C. 

Paula: You’re right. Exactly. We can’t do justice to them in the time we have available. But as we said, we have the deck. So anybody who wants all five on both sides can definitely request that and they’ll get access to it. 

The other final piece is then, Sereen, I just, you know, admired in, in looking at what you’re doing is, I suppose, that, that real focus on the joy of redemption. And I think we talk a lot, I think generally as an interest, as an industry about cash plus miles.

But what struck me when looking at how you position it, you talk about it as points plus cash. So even that simple reversing of the focus, I thought was very clever. Because I think then what it does is say, no, you should expect to be getting a redemption ticket. And if you need to top up a little bit of cash, that’s okay.

And maybe that’s just the loyalty marketer in me and the loyalty focus coming from two loyalty professionals, I guess, in your slide deck. But is that something, I mean, clearly the airline is very comfortable, of course, with that level of focus. But, you know, just in terms of your experience, that feels to me as an intentional change in terms of how you frame the benefits of your program. Do you think that’s maybe one of the key reasons for the success that you’re seeing?

Sereen: Yes, I think definitely I can give you some insights based on the 7 months of the data as well. 

Paula: Yes, please do. 

Sereen: I think I’m actually quite proud of to launch this points top up in half during the redemption because you know, that etiquette size is actually very big. If I say and we are the young program, we are still very young, which is just seven months in the market. And we only started to onboard the external partner to be actually into the platform for the members to earn post launching on May. So it’s just about two months, so it’s a long way to onboard the 300 partners that I mentioned. Right. 

So young program, lack of partners to earn points. I think if let’s say you just put up the very exclusive deal, like 90 percent or 70 percent without the points top up, the members will not able to complete the redemption because the etiquette size is actually quite big. And when I look at the data for the past 7 months, I can say that for the past 4 months, because we launched the flight redemption only in March. Right? So when the members actually, this is also something very interesting me as well about actually, when the members have about 35 percent of the points that earn from everywhere, they were starting to do the redemption.

This is something very unique to the Vietnam market, right? Because I run the Asia Rewards program for 12 countries, but this is the first time I see this kind of data, right? So they are very savvy. They know how to, they are value seeker, they are price sensitive, and they know how to leverage on the points to redeem something that is very meaningful to them, right?

So I can see that majority of them, they actually have earned about 35 percent and they top up 65 percent by cash to complete the redemption. So this is actually quite unique in this market, where I think if let’s say whoever partners actually listen on this podcast, I also can see that this is a huge opportunity because you no need to wait for a long time for us to drive the revenue back to you. Especially airline or partners that you can redeem for other partners, product like Starbucks coffee or highland coffee or whatever Samsung phone or anything, right? Because it’s a short period to come to the first redemption, which is 35%. When they earn it, they will treat it as like 35 percent as a form of discount to redeem something. Even I think with the Dyson hairdryer example, yeah, if you have a 35%, like you can’t get in 35 percent discount in the market to purchase a hair, Dyson hairdryer, right? 

Paula: I know. I wish. So, I mean, as you were explaining all of that I was trying to, you know, I was just wondering, I guess, whether it’s the, you know, the fact that you’re in Vietnam and it is such a, you know, digitally savvy country, whether it’s the age profile of what you’re focusing on that is helping your members to have that level of clarity.

And it’s probably coming. It’s probably a combination, I guess, of all of them. But also given your focus on, I think the word is liquidity. So this idea that, you know, your, your earning points, you may not have enough for the full product that you want, be it travel or physical or whatever it might be.

But you did, for example, mention very casually. In path point top up, which I think is an extraordinary way, as you said, for people just to kind of understand, at least start doing the research. Can I get my reward now? And if not, I can absolutely top up with cash. So building belief, I think, in SkyJoy members that they can actually enjoy the redemption seems like a very clear focus for you.

Sereen: Yes, absolutely. I think we need to make a program very achievable, very aspirational to pull out the tier because we have four membership tier from red to silver to gold to diamond. And we cannot make the program that is very rigid and not able to pull out the member tiers as soon as possible. That’s why we started with very simple concept, simple to understand, simple to communicate. So that you can actually is one of the key factors of the success I can see that. 

Paula: Amazing. Amazing. And I know the final point is that we’re releasing this episode now in September of 2023. And in October, we are planning to, of course, hear you speaking at The Loyalty and Awards Conference in Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro. So tell us about that. I guess you’re planning to share some more amazing insights from the stage. 

Sereen: Sure. I’m actually also very excited on this opportunity because it’s also my first time to actually go to Brazil and I can see that it’s also my first time as the SkyJoy CEO to actually share some of the insights.

So, and also to meet all the loyalty expert during the conference. So I think this is actually definitely a significant value add to my personal career life, to my company, to my society as well because a lot of the event, right? 

Paula: A hundred percent Sereen, you’re going to absolutely love it. So I can’t wait to meet you there and hear all of the latest insights as you grow. And even though it’s only a couple of months, I’m sure you’ll have even more amazing statistics to share with us. So, that’s all the questions I have for you today, Sereen. Is there anything else that you wanted to mention before we wrap up? 

Sereen: Thank you for this opportunity. I’m actually very happy to speak on this Let’s Talk Loyalty. And I think I get to, the first exposure to Let’s Talk Loyalty is during the last year conference as well, when I get the cup from the conference. 

Paula: Wonderful. Okay. We’ll have other swag and goodies and merchandise as well this year. So I’m super, super happy to hear that you have a Let’s Talk Loyalty mug. So if anybody needs one, let me know and I’ll bring some extras because yes, they’ve become a part of some of the the podcast recordings as well. So, so thank you. Super fun. 

Listen, Sereen, it’s been absolutely a joy and definitely a masterclass. Again, I had so little awareness of what was happening at all in any Asian market, but particularly in Vietnam. So you’ve certainly educated and inspired me a huge amount, and that’s exactly what this show is intended to do. I would love to put your LinkedIn profile into the show notes for this recording, if that’s okay with you. Yeah, just because I have a feeling there will be a lot of people, even airline or non airline, who might want to reach out to get some more words of wisdom.

And of course, for anyone who’s heading to Rio de Janeiro for the Loyalty and Awards Conference in in Brazil in October, which is literally now a matter of weeks away, we’ll be super excited to to hear all of your feedback on our conversation and even more learnings. So, I just want to wrap up by saying as I said, it’s been absolutely incredible.

Sereen Teoh, Chief Executive Officer of SkyJoy  from GalaxyJoy, thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty. 

Sereen: Thank you, Paula.

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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