#525: The Bonus Awards Celebrate Loyalty Excellence in Germany and Beyond

Today’s episode is available both in audio as “Let’s Talk Loyalty” and on video on www.Loyalty TV.

Our guest today, Ulf Gunnar Switalski, is a loyalty expert in Germany.

Ulf is the author of two books on how to use the loyalty programs from a consumer perspective, content which he also shares on his blog – Upgrade Guru.de

Three years ago, Ulf founded “The Bonus Awards” focused on recognizing excellence in the loyalty industry in Germany, then he expanded these awards to recognize loyalty leaders in Belgium and Netherlands.

Listen to hear insights, learnings and who the main winners were in these emerging loyalty awards for Europe.

Show notes

1) Ulf Gunnar Switalski

2) Upgrade Guru.de

3) The Bonus Awards

4) Press release Gallup Engagement Index 2022

5) Gallup Engagement Index Germany 2023: More than 7.3 million employees have internally resigned

6) Watch the full interview at www.Lotyalty.TV

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m Paula Thomas, the Founder and CEO of Let’s Talk Loyalty and also Loyalty TV. If you work in loyalty marketing, you can watch our video interviews every Thursday on www.loyalty.tv. And of course, you can listen to our podcasts every Tuesday, every Wednesday, and every Thursday to learn the latest ideas from loyalty experts around the world.

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Hello and welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV. Today’s guest is Ulf Gunnar Switalski, a loyalty expert in Germany. Ulf is the author of two books on how to use loyalty programs from a consumer perspective. His blog is upgrade.guru.de. And then three years ago, he founded the Bonus Awards focused on recognizing excellence in our industry in Germany, then Belgium and the Netherlands. If you’re interested in loyalty in these key European markets, I’m sure like me, you’ll be excited to learn who the main winners were. I hope you enjoy our conversation. 

Ulf, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Thanks for having me. 

Paula: Fantastic. I know you’ve been jetting around the world. You’ve just come in from Maldives. So sounds like you have a wonderful life doing a lot of work in different places. And you’re all about travel particularly from a consumer perspective, I think in some very interesting markets and done some fantastic work for our industry. So we thought it was a very important to bring you on the show and hear all about particularly the Bonus Awards that you’ve just been running in a number of European markets. So very excited to hear the background to all of that. 

But before we get into the Bonus Awards Ulf, of course, we always like to start this show trying to get a sense of what our guests really admire in the loyalty industry. So let me kick off with our usual opening question. What is your favorite loyalty program or programs? I think you have two. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah, I really have two. From my personal consumer perspective, as you mentioned, I’m traveling a lot, so I’m watching a lot in what’s going on in hospitality. And my very favorite program is World of Hyatt.

Paula: Okay. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: It’s quite easy why. Because if you compare it to all the other hotel programs, which are on the market, they really deliver the benefits they promise. 

Paula: Okay. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah. It’s very hard to get the highest tier, but if you get the highest tier, there’s no question. Yeah. That you get what they promise. And lots of the other programs are devaluating points or the benefits for the customer in the last years. And Hyatt in this year made a very nice move because they added benefits instead of taking them away. Yeah. They added some new benefits. Yeah. And I really like it. 

Paula: Okay. Yeah. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Okay. From my German perspective, I’m a big fan from, for Payback. 

Paula: Yeah. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Because you have so many possibilities to collect points and to spend points. They have 30 partners and they have I think more than 600 online stores where you can collect points.

Paula: Okay. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: And they have this special connection to miles and more the loyalty program from Lufthansa group so you can change every single payback point into a mile. Yeah, and this, it drives the value of the points much higher, because if you spend your points in the supermarket, you know, you get a value of one cent, but if you change it to miles and more, for example, and you spend it for first class ticket, you get a value of nine cent. So 900 percent more.

Paula: Wow. You see, this is why, and I know I said it to you off air and I hope it’s a compliment. I kind of see you now as like the Points Guy for Germany. So there’s so much need and excitement around whether it’s like hacking travel, although I don’t particularly like that word, but optimizing the use of our programs, you know, I think in this region, we could definitely do with more insights, you know, in terms of how really to get the value because they are quite complicated, the programs.

And if I can get nine times more with, to be honest, the sexiest sector as well, the whole travel sector. So I totally agree. Payback is an extraordinary program. We have had them on Let’s Talk Loyalty once before, and they’re due back on again this summer. So we’ll be bringing the full story to the audience again, all about Payback. So so very exciting times.  Thank you for kicking us off with those two. 

So let’s get into your, I suppose, overall background. How did you become this, you know, font of so much knowledge about loyalty programs? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Well, my, my life in loyalty was always from consumer perspective. Yeah. When I was a young guy, I moved from a North German city to Berlin. And in these days, the two countries were separated still. And it was a really hassle to go by car from Berlin to West Germany. So we had different airlines. Air France was doing British Airways and Pan Am. And one day when I did the check in, the people at the check in gave me a little flyer from world pass and I enrolled. Yeah. And this is why I get in contact with loyalty and I started to love it. Yeah. 

And some years later, well, a couple of years later I had my first really, really big reward. And this was a Concord flight ticket.

Paula: Wow.

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: From London to New York. And This is, for me, it’s a very interesting thing about loyalty as well, because it’s a very emotional thing. It’s not about only saving or getting any kind of kickback. Because this experience you can just not do anymore. You cannot fly anymore in Concord. And when I stayed in New York, I stayed in the old with my Hilton Honors points. I stayed in the old part of Astoria and this as well. Yeah. You cannot do any more, even if they rebuild it now. But the old one was the old one. Yeah. 

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. What an extraordinary experience. And I have to say I was equally lucky, not because of the loyalty industry, but I also flew Concord. I worked with British Airways, I said to you, and again, I realized this might not be something that I can do for very long.

You know, I worked there for five years, but my mother had her 50th birthday. And I thought what better present than I can do is to take her on Concord. So I also flew London, New York.

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Wonderful. Yeah.

Paula: It’s amazing. Flew back in economy. So it wasn’t quite the full experience that you had, but there you go. It’s a memory for life that all comes from that loyalty program.

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah. And this is a big difference because I just, we just had a, loyalty meet up in Ghent for the, for our Belgium rewards. Yeah. And we talked a lot about this point of emotional loyalty. And I think loyalty is not about saving. If you save one, one percent and get it is immediate cashback in the supermarket, I don’t know anyone who’s telling this to, to, to any of the friends. 

Paula: Yeah. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: But, I can’t count how many people in my life I told about this experience with British Airways to fly Concord. And this is such a bigger impact to give the people some rewards. They really, they really like. 

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. Well, truly an exceptional one. So well done on that. So you are obviously paying close attention to exactly how to earn in order to burn, you know, with that extraordinary experience. 

So, so when did you decide actually, you wanted to write about loyalty? Because I think that’s the origins particularly of the awards that we’re going to talk about today. So your blog, of course sounds like it’s hugely successful. I know it’s resulted in a number of books being published. So tell us about the blog. When did that all start? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah, this is because when you travel a lot and your friends see that you travel a lot, they all ask you how you do it because this is not normal. And if you do most of your trips in business or in first class, yeah. Everybody knows that it’s quite expensive. And one day I decided to share my experiences and my knowledge in my blog and it grow a little bit every year. And then as I’m involved in book industry as well, I decided to do my first book. It’s, it was called Travel for Free. And then I made a second book. This was more focused on Payback. 

Paula: Okay. Super. Okay. And how long then has that been going on? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Since about six years. 

Paula: Okay. So not that long. Okay. And then where did the awards idea come from? I love the fact that you’re doing such focused work in particularly Germany. And of course, we’ll talk about some other countries, but why did you decide that you really wanted to recognize the industry again, particularly from a consumer perspective, which is also quite unique? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yes. The idea of the Bonus Awards came when I made a deep dive into the industry. And I saw that only in Germany, we have round about 1,500 different programs in the market.

Paula: Wow. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: If you count every little store and all the coffee shops. Yeah. And this is a huge number and a very big industry. But most of the programs, they don’t ask their clients. And I think this is a very interesting point because the programs are made for the customers and sometimes it’s only this one way street loyalty. Yeah. The customer has to be loyal to the brand, but is the brand loyal to the customer? What is he giving back? What are the bands the brands giving back? And this is why I decided to set up awards where really the customers get their voice back. 

Paula: Okay, so how does it work? I know you particularly do invite, first and foremost, as you’ve said, consumers to vote across quite a number of categories. You also have different types of voting, I know, as well, with experts and media, which I also thought was super interesting, given that we’re in the media business ourselves. So, is it the actual programs themselves that are inviting, for example, the consumers to vote? Is that how you’re accessing for people to be aware of these awards?

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Well, we’re accessing the consumers in different channels. The programs are doing some promotion on their own, inviting their members. We have our own database. We have the blog and we get more and more recognition from the media people. Yeah. This year, the biggest German breakfast television show Frühstücksfernsehen made a bigger feature about us telling a really nice quote. I’m in love with this quote that the Bonus Awards are democratizing the loyalty industry. 

Paula: Wow. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: And this is what we want to do. Yeah. Always in our awards, the customer part is the heart. Yeah. We have this business to business part. We have the expert part. We have the journalists who are voting and we have some VIPs as well. We have a VIP award with some bloggers in and TV personalities, sports people. But for me the heart of the awards will always be the customer voting. 

Paula: Okay. And give us a sense of the scale. Cause I know it’s grown a lot over the three years. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah, when we started three years ago, we casted round about 25,000 votes in the first year. What I think was a really good number for the first year, because we have been very new in the market. We nearly doubled in the second year, and we had 45,000 people voting. And this year, we had round about 116,000 people. 

Paula: Wow, my God, you must be very proud. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah I’m proud of it. And The thing is with the voting, this voting you can’t do in a two minutes process. Yeah. So we have these eight different categories. We have four subcategories in every category. So it takes you more or less 12 to 15 minutes to finish the voting. 

Paula: Wow. That’s a big ask. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah. And I think we really, at the moment we really reach, engage people who really want to express what they think about the program, but about the promotions they’re doing.

Paula: Yes. Yeah. Well, in fairness, yes I do clearly care about loyalty enough to spend 15 minutes to make sure my voice is heard. So I think I probably would have advised you otherwise though, because it’s counterintuitive, you know, we’re all so busy and normally it’s like, there’s a short attention span. You know, we’re sending out a survey ourselves today, and we’re just keeping it to five minutes in a business to business context.

But you’ve really gone the opposite and said, no, we really want to hear. And you had some wonderful statistics I know, in terms of even the average number of memberships that particularly in Germany. I know there’s other countries as well, but give us a sense, how engaged are the German consumers? Just in terms of how many programs do they engage with?

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah. The typical German customer, the average customer in our survey, he’s enrolled at the same time active in eight different programs. 

Paula: Okay. Okay. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah. I think it’s a huge number. 

Paula: It’s a huge number. Absolutely. Yeah. I surprised myself actually, because I really only engage with three or four, and it may be because of where we live, for example, but I also find that I’m very judgmental. So unless it’s really resonating, I’m not going to give it the time. So yeah, I don’t think I would spend a lot of time with eight programs, but yes, I’m probably technically, you know, engaged and active in HSO and probably the same for me as well. Yeah. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: I would love to mention one other thing because after this voting, which already takes you 12, 15 minutes, we have another survey. And nearly half of the people who are completing the voting are doing the survey. And to complete this survey, you need an additional more or less 20 minutes. So for me it’s a really strong sign that the people we are reaching, they want to express what they think about their programs. 

Paula: So what are you surveying, given that you’ve already asked them to vote on the programs? What’s the survey designed to achieve? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah we’re asking about how many programs they enrolled, how much time they spent, what they are missing, what rewards they like. So lots of questions. 

Paula: Okay. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: And we make a small study out of it. 

Paula: Okay. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Which is published always after the awards. 

Paula: Wonderful. Okay. And is that available to our audience, for example? Can we link to that? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yes, it is available.

Paula: Okay, fantastic. Well, I will definitely have to dig into that. My goodness. So much information, Ulf, that’s very exciting. So who were the big winners? Tell us a bit about, it’s obviously just happened as, so we’re kind of hot off the presses releasing this episode in April. I think it was February. You actually had the announcements of the winners. So tell us some of the big brands that came through as the best in Germany. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah, the winner for the big, the winner for the Best Program in Shopping Category, for example, was Payback. Yeah. Maybe it’s not such a big surprise because they’re so big. Yeah. But we have so many different awards.

And for example, there are smaller programs which don’t have such a big database because sometimes people say, ah, clearly a big program will win the first prize. Yeah. But if you have a, if you have a membership which is really engaged and really active and likes what you’re doing, you have the chance to win the first prize. Yeah. For example, in, in lifestyle category, there’s a brand called EMP. It’s an online shop for more or less rock and music merchandising. Yeah. And they won the first prize with a much smaller program. 

Or for example, we have the Expert Awards where we have industry people judging. And we have the Newcomer Award and we have a very new program which will be launched now. It’s called TBNS.IO and it’s, they integrate cryptocurrency in shopping and giving their own NFTs out and their own coins out. And it’s a, I think it’s a very interesting approach as well. 

Paula: Well, what was amazing to me is the fact that your expert judges, you know, chose that even though it’s not yet launched. And I’ll be dying to see, of course, what the adoption is like. I’m pretty sure when the awards come around this time next year, we’ll all be looking to see how they’re doing. But obviously the concept of web three is really resonating with German consumers. Would that be fair to say? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah, I think so. I think so. 

Paula: Yeah. Okay.

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: And I think worldwide we have to take a look because everyone was telling, ah, this trend is over with the star, with the Starbucks problem. Yeah. But I think we’re in the early beginning. 

Paula: I agree. And I think what, for me, what’s most interesting is, yes, Odyssey was launched, as we all know, by Starbucks in the US as a beta program. So it was never something that I think was realistically going to be mainstream. But the fact that they did it so publicly means, of course, now the fact that they’re going discontinuing it has led, I think, a lot of people, I think wrongly, to conclude that it failed. But I think it was a learning exercise.

So, I think you’re right. We’re certainly not done in terms of what Web3 can do for loyalty. And they have promised there’s something literally coming very quickly to replace it, but of course, we don’t know if it’s going to be within the same space in terms of NFTs or whether it’s going to be something with the AI, you know, hype that’s going on. So who knows? Maybe it’ll be a combination of all of those. 

But for me, for example, you know, like so many things take me a long time as a consumer to understand, and I consider myself fairly intelligent. You know, I understand what cryptocurrencies are, but I really don’t yet see why I would go through all of the very complex methodologies that are required currently in terms of wallets and how to trade with those currencies. So again, for the newcomer so give us the name of that one again off so people can listen and look out for it. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: tbns.io

Paula: .IO, even the io is super cool, huh? So they’re getting plenty of publicity. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Other examples in Germany, what I like is Miles & More is trying an app called Uptrip. And this is really gamification. Yeah. You collect NFTs and you get two cards for every flight you’re taking. You can choose out of cities, airplanes, the brands. And I think this is interesting. I think a gamification is, as well, a very big point to get the people engaged. Yeah. And again, Payback is doing this very, very well. Yeah. They have at the same time, more or less two, three games running in the app every week. 

Paula: Well, we haven’t had Miles & More on Let’s Talk Loyalty or Loyalty TV. So open invitation for anybody who’s listening or watching from the program of course we’d love to hear some more about that. And I know they won lots of your other awards as well. So, again, just a shout out to Miles & More, I know it’s doing super well in the German market.

What other awards I see the VIP Award was won by Marriott Bonvoy. And actually it was the Media Award was that was Miles & More, so a couple of really high profile. And again, it wasn’t just one or two, they won so many, so lots of they’re doing right. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah, they’re doing right. And the interesting thing is this year we made the Bonus Awards the first time in Belgium and Netherlands.

Paula: Okay. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: And even there in Flying Blue Home Market, Miles and more was ahead of Flying Blue. 

Paula: Oh my goodness. Okay.

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski:  It’s strange, but happens. 

Paula: Yes. Yeah. So how did it go? So it was the first year. Was it for Belgium and Netherlands? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yes. It was first year.

Paula: Okay. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: And if you, if we had, well, it’s a much smaller market than Germany, yeah, and we casted maybe 6,500 votes, but if you compare this to our first figures in Germany with these 25,000 and you compare it to the people living in these countries, it’s more or less the same. So I, I hope that we may, we’ll make a big move next year as well in Belgium and Netherlands. 

Paula: Indeed. And beyond that, it sounds like you’ve got lots of ambitions as well beyond these three countries. So can you share anything more about where else you’re excited about? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: For sure, we will roll out next year for Austria, in Austria and in Switzerland as well.

Paula: Okay. And anything that you can tease us with beyond that, or is that as far as you’re thinking? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: No, we just had two smaller events in, one in Germany at the ITB, the International Tourism Fair. 

Paula: Okay. Yeah. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: It was most of our participating travel brands and we had another event in Ghent for the Belgium Netherlands market. And I think that we are doing a bigger conference for the GAS market in Germany. next year, I think in March. 

Paula: Okay. Sorry. What’s GAS? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Germany, Austria, Switzerland. 

Paula: Ah, pardon me. Okay. See, we all have our own terminology, you know, amazing. Okay. Anything else that surprised you this year? You know, as we said, you’ve quite a number of categories. How many categories in total or for you awarding? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Eight categories. 

Paula: Eight categories. Okay. Yeah. Anything else that jumped out at you as something that you think is significant? I think you mentioned paid loyalty was coming through, if I’m not mistaken, as a trend in some of the categories as well. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Well, personally, I’m a fan of paid loyalty if it’s well done. 

Paula: Of course. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: I’m enrolled in two, three different programs in Brazil.

Paula: Okay. That’s unexpected. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: One is, one is Smiles from GOL from the airline and they deliver such high value for the price you get. So, so if you’re enrolled in the highest category in the paid program, you get the highest tier in goal with lots of benefits, yeah. Three extra bags and free seating and all this.

If paid loyalty is well done, I think the people accept it and are willing to pay the price for it. And what was interesting that we had was Avis Preferred Drive, the first paid loyalty program in the competition this year, and they did really well. 

Paula: Avis, yeah. Interesting. Okay. But just to go back to Brazil, because I’m still processing that, you must travel to Brazil a lot then in terms of at least availing of the extra bags and all of the benefits. So it’s a long way from, well, certainly from where we are today here in Dubai, long way from Germany, where you’re based, a long way from the Maldives, where you’ve just been. So sounds.

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: But it’s a very interesting loyalty market. 

Paula: I agree. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: There’s so many programs in the market, the people are going crazy about it sometimes. And I think it’s a interesting market as well to watch for new trends, what’s going on. 

Paula: I agree. Yes. Yeah. And I was just there very briefly, and I know Ravindra, for example, from Loyalty and Awards and global flight is one of your judges. For example, Ravindra’s conference was in Rio last year and I did go. And one thing I vividly remember one of the speakers saying exactly to your point is loyalty currencies are often more stable than the currency of the country. So I, that kind of blew my mind because sometimes I think of Brazil with my very limited knowledge is perhaps an emerging market, you know, Latin America hasn’t been on my radar. So, you’re right though. There’s a lot of incredibly smart people there, very engaged programs. And please God, we’ll be doing a lot more focus on that market ourselves. 

And actually one of my recent learnings from a podcast perspective is it will be the number one podcast market in the world, Latin America, actually more broadly by 2030.

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Wow.

Paula: So, yeah, a part of the world again, that probably doesn’t get the kind of recognition certainly in my day to day life. So, yeah, so brilliant to know. Okay. So paid loyalty, Avis specifically and Smiles from GOL as well. Yeah. Okay. Anything else you wanted to call out in terms of the winners from, I suppose, essentially 2023 announced now in 2024?

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: For me this year in the German Bonus Awards, we had Payback and DM. DM is one of the biggest drugstore companies and their Payback partner, but they were competing in the same category, yeah, which is a little bit weird. But DM, which is much, much smaller, did so well. Yeah. And I think maybe this is because they have their own program in their own app, but they have a Payback connection at the same time.

So for the customer, they can always decide, yeah. Do I want some benefits in the drugstore? Yeah. Like, like a discount or any other little present, or I want to collect points. And I think if you see Payback as a dominating program in this category, I think DM, this was a very big surprise that they did so well.

Paula: Interesting. Interesting. Yeah. Honestly, you know, every time these awards come out, you know, you know, it’s wonderful to hear the feedback, for example, from judges, from experts. And again, just to briefly mention again, I love the fact that you have journalists in the German market who are increasingly, first of all, recognizing that you’re democratizing the industry. 

So again, well done on that wonderful feedback, but also just generally even voting themselves. Because they do have a voice. They do hear from the mass market in terms of what is working very well. So I think you’re right. And the big giants like Payback sometimes are the only show in town, but then smaller programs also deserve extra recognition. So I think it’s super exciting. The fact that you’ve got all of those different ways of evaluating what our industry is doing. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah. And I would like to mention one thing because this was one of the ideas of the awards as well. As a customer, you have to vote in every category. So if you may become out of a lead from Payback from any mail out they did you have to see all the other programs. So for smaller programs, yeah, this is a very good promotion platform as well to reach new customers. 

Paula: Yes. Yes. Amazing. And the final piece I wanted to touch on was something that I think is upcoming in terms of your awards. Maybe for 2024, 2025, and it’s much more in the B2B space in terms of employee loyalty, employer loyalty. So what are you hearing or feeling in, or I suppose in terms of justifying that’s going to become something that we increasingly need to be thinking about? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah, I think we have to think about it a lot. Look for Germany, Gallup just published a new big study. And the unbelievable number of 60 percent of German employees are willing to change their job. So, employer loyalty, I think, is the next big thing we all have to take a look to keep the people in the companies. 

Paula: Yeah, it’s kind of terrifying as, you know, a small business owner myself, you know, with a wonderful team. It’s like, oh my goodness. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah, you’re lucky. 

Paula: Totally, absolutely, you know. But you’re right, I think it’s something that the bigger the company gets, sometimes the more that can be forgotten because the focus moves to growth or, you know, to, you know, such a consumer focus that the internal employees are sometimes left behind. But yet when we look to, you know, globally successful brands, I know Virgin, for example, Richard Branson always says it’s my people. First and foremost, his loyalty is to his people. Of course, he’s got lots of loyalty propositions as well for his consumers, but I do think that’s an important one. So is that something we can look forward to for the Bonus Awards in 2025? 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah, we will for sure include employer loyalty as a category. And I think again, if you see employer loyalty, this point of emotion is becoming most important. Yeah. Because maybe, yeah, you get it, you get a book or you get something like free fitness. Yeah. But at the end, yeah, I think it’s the emotions in the teams, in the company, yeah, which keep you in the company or make you leaving. 

Paula: Yeah. It sounds like you’ve designed your research and your surveys and your evaluation to exactly capture that emotion. So again, rather than just evaluating the cashback, as you’ve said there is something that drives advocacy. So we talk about it a lot. I think it’s very hard to do but it sounds like you’re so laser focused on it. And giving those consumers the voice themselves that you’re bringing together a lot of the ideas that the industry is talking about and bringing it through in something that can be recognized and celebrated. Yeah. Super. 

Well, listen, all of that is all of the questions that I have for you today. And are there any other big points that you wanted to mention? I know you’re only in Dubai for a short time. So of course, very exciting for us to get access and time with you, but is there anything else you wanted to mention for our global audience before we wrap up?

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Yeah, I think it’s interesting because If you mentioned Dubai, I’m coming back for the very big loyalty conference, Loyalty Connect, which will be in a couple of weeks. But I think what is important as well to see loyalty in a, from a global perspective, you can learn a lot what’s going on in other countries, but for collaboration and cooperation, I think if you see particularly the retailer, this is more regional because I think this is why we’re doing our event next year to bring the people together, that they can exchange not only ideas, but even their business contacts.

Paula: Totally. Totally. The other key point, and again, we’re a media partner for Loyalty Connect, so I’m delighted that you’re going to be in town for that. The thing that I love about that conference, alongside the ambition and the sheer scale, is the fact that it is positioned as a C-suite event. Because I sometimes feel like even we might be guilty of being a little bit of an echo chamber. Because we talk about loyalty with loyalty people, you know, but there are, of course, both frontline staff, but particularly C-suite that always need to remain convinced to facilitate our investments and to ensure that those partnerships can be facilitated as well. So I think a big shout out to those guys as well.

So again, I’m sure you’ll look forward to meeting them and I’ll be there. You’ll be there. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Cool.

Paula: So it’s definitely the big show in town. So thank you. So listen, on that note, I want to thank you again for sharing some of your very brief time stopping off with us. So Ulf Gunnar Switalski, Founder of The Bonus Awards. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty and Loyalty TV. 

Ulf-Gunnar Switalski: Thanks for having me. 

Paula: This show is sponsored by Wise Marketer Group, publisher of The Wise Marketer, the premier digital customer loyalty marketing resource for industry relevant news, insights, and research. Wise Marketer Group also offers loyalty education and training globally through its Loyalty Academy which has certified nearly 900 marketers and executives in 49 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.

For global coverage of customer engagement and loyalty. Check out thewisemarketer.com and become a wiser marketer or subscriber. Learn more about global loyalty education for individuals or corporate training programs at loyaltyacademy.org.

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