#506: Understanding Loyalty in Europe – Getting to know the Red by Dufry Loyalty Programme

This episode focuses on the Avolta Loyalty Programme – the global programme of this leading global travel experience player with over 5,500 duty free, food & beverage and convenience stores across 75 countries. With Camilo Courtenay, the Global Loyalty Lead at Avolta.

Camilo heads up global loyalty at Avolta. Prior to joining, he worked in various loyalty roles at Vodafone, Eurostar and British Airways and brings a wealth of industry experience to our show.

Today we will be learning about Camilo’s favourite loyalty programmes, how loyalty is changing in travel and all about the existing Avolta programme and plans for the future.

Hosted by Charlie Hills.

Show Notes :

1) Camilo Courtenay

2) Avolta Loyalty Programme

3) European Loyalty Whitepaper

4) Mando-Connect

5) YouGov

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 now Loyalty TV. Today’s episode is hosted by Charlie Hills, Chief Strategy Officer of Mando-Connect, a UK based agency that uses smart data to create brilliant partnerships and rewards that really work.

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Charlie: Hello and welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty. I’m Charlie Hills, the Chief Strategy Officer for Mando-Connect, WPP’s loyalty specialist partnerships and rewards agency. We have created a white paper in partnership with YouGov that explores loyalty membership, appeal, and impact across 24 European markets. And I’m delighted to be hosting this series of podcasts featuring European loyalty experts to help our listeners better understand what loyalty looks like across Europe.

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Camilo Courtenay, the Global Loyalty Leader, Avolta. Avolta is a leading digital travel experience player with over 5,500 duty free food and beverage and convenience stores across 75 countries. He’s responsible for the loyalty proposition and partnerships. And prior to joining Avolta, he’s worked in various loyalty roles at Vodafone, Eurostar and British Airways and brings a wealth of industry experience to our show.

Today, we’ll be learning about Camilo’s favorite loyalty programs, how loyalty is changing in travel and all about the existing program and his plans for the future. I hope you really enjoy our conversation today.

Hello, Camilo, it’s brilliant to have you on the podcast today. Welcome to the show. 

Camilo: Thank you very much for having me. 

Charlie: Delighted to have you here today. It’s fantastic to have people who’ve been on the podcast before come back and revisit us. Especially when they’re working on exciting programs like you are at the moment.

But before we get into all of that, I’m going to start as I always do with Paula’s favorite question. So I know you know what’s coming. What is your favorite loyalty program now, Camilo? 

Camilo: So I tried really hard to pick one that hadn’t been mentioned before on the podcast. So this is kind of a good test to see if I’ve been listening to every, every episode or not. But the one I’ve chosen is a wine subscription app. And we’re talking about wine just a minute ago, but it’s an app called Good Pair Days. And I think it’s only available in UK and Australia. I think it originally launched in Australia. And I was just kind of looking to get a little bit more into wine and learn a bit more about wine as well. And I came across it through a recommendation actually. 

And the reason I really like it is that it’s just. Their loyalty program is really simple. It’s just points. It’s kind of very basic if you look at it, but the way they’ve integrated it into their overall app, the overall customer experience is amazing. So it’s, the app is obviously about getting you to buy wine on subscription, but it’s also positioned around learning more about wine. So in quite an accessible way all the food pairings, hence their brand name. So the way it works is you basically earn points for rating each bottle. So it’s not purchasing, it’s actually then.

Charlie: Oh, nice. I love that when a program does that brand appropriate behavior and brand appropriate reward, that’s great. So rather than purchase, it’s actually linked to kind of, I’ve rated it, I’ve reviewed it?

Camilo: Yeah. So it’s great. It’s linked to the rating. You then do taste tests. You then collect badges if you’ve kind of bought wines from different regions, different grape varieties. If you’ve done some short courses as well, so learning more about the wine production process they do kind of quizzes and kind of surprise and delight type things as well. So obviously I kind of look at it from someone who works in loyalty, but also as a customer, and then I find myself thinking, you know, is, do I use the app regularly, does it give me value? And it kind of ticks all those boxes from a kind of customer perspective as well. 

So it really incentivizes you to engage with all their content. And I think it’s created a really nice experience as a community around it as well on Facebook. And it just feels like quite a nice, you know, it’s very simple at its core, but I think how they’ve executed it is really good as well.

And the rewards are a mix of merch, which aren’t necessarily my cup of tea, but also things like wine racks and kind of surprise bottles of wine and these kinds of things. So they’ve just kind of done a really neat job of bringing it all together. 

And I guess what I admire is I don’t know much about the company. I don’t know how many people they have, but I get the feeling it’s quite a small company and I think the effort it takes to do something like that with a small team, I think is what I admire as well, because they could have just done something really.

Charlie: Basic. And they’ve actually really invested.

Camilo: Exactly.

Charlie: To make that work for their brand. Oh, that’s cool. I love it when you see those ones that are interesting, both professionally and personally. Those are totally my favorites. It’s like anything in the chocolate, wine, coffee space, I’m all over, but I didn’t know about that one. I’m going to check it out. That sounds like a really good example that they’ve actually looked across all the different sorts of sectors and seen how other people are doing loyalty and then kind of really bacon into their DNA. 

I particularly like the idea of rewarding you for learning as well and doing those courses. That’s quite cool. I think quite a lot of programs could learn from that actually and apply it to their own worlds. 

Camilo: Yeah. Exactly.

Charlie: So everyone check out Good Pair Days. That sounds really cool. I will be looking. There’s going to see a spike in their membership side. 

Camilo: Yes.

Charlie: Halo is a direct report. Maybe you’ll get a present. Maybe that’s one of the brand appropriate.

Camilo: Totally.

Charlie: Behaviors that they reward. 

Camilo: I took out my phone. 

Charlie: We’ll send everyone. Depending what time of the day you’re listening to this as well, that might make you go for a coffee or it might actually make you go for a glass of wine.

So what about loyalty marketing, Camilo? You know, we’re really lucky to have you on again. You’ve worked on some of like the biggest and best and most exciting, most award winning kind of programs in loyalty marketing. Interestingly, what I like is across so many different sectors as well. And then you can see those learnings translate across.

However, our listeners probably don’t know you as well as I do. So it will be really great for them to hear, you know, from you, what is your loyalty background? You know, what’s your career look like? And how did you end up in this weird and wonderful world of loyalty marketing? 

Camilo: So, yeah, so I’m currently the Global Loyalty Leader of Avolta. So we’re a global travel experience player. We’ve got over five and a half thousand duty free stores, food and beverage outlets, convenience stores in over 70 countries. So I’m responsible for the loyalty proposition and our partnerships. 

I started my career at British Airways. So I joined on their graduate program and I got to work in the airport and in various operational and marketing roles. It’s a fantastic place to work, fantastic place to start your career. And ended up in their executive club team working on the loyalty program as a proposition manager. So that was kind of my first kind of venture into loyalty. 

Charlie: Nice program there to cut your teeth on, you know, not one, yeah, tiny little player. 

Camilo: Yeah. And it’s, I mean, it’s a great program. I still love it as a customer and kind of keep up to date with all the, you know, the changes they’re making. But, you know, that was kind of I learned a lot in that role. We had a great team. And after that point I just kind of knew I wanted to kind of stay in, in loyalty.

Then spent some time at Eurostar, relaunched their program, Club Eurostar, which they’ve just refreshed with the merger with Alice, so it’s good to see that kind of going from strength to strength as, as well. And then spend some time at Vodafone in the UK on their loyalty program as you know, working with Mando Connect as well.

So, yeah, as you said, I think it’s been really interesting. You know, the thing I love is that you can work in a loyalty role, but in every company, it’s almost. You know, it could be a totally different job, different mechanics, different propositions. So it kind of, you know, you never get bored. 

Charlie: Yeah, I think that interconnectedness is something that we see consistently from our guests, actually. It’s sort of, you sit in the loyalty proposition, but you almost touch every element of the business, don’t you? In your case now, from the stores to all those different countries, to all the kind of back operations as well. It’s definitely a common theme. 

What other kind of things are you seeing, you know, outside of that world, that broad sector and broad market kind of experience as well must give you a really interesting insight into the trends in the loyalty industry. What are you seeing? What are the things that you’re thinking are most interesting at the moment? 

Camilo: I mean, there’s obviously a lot of focus on, you know, emerging technology and some of those kind of trends, but some of the things I look at is, well, actually one of my favorite things is just simplicity. So I look at some programs like as the rewards which launched I think last year in the UK and you know, their whole proposition is pounds not points. I think it’s their strapline. So again, they’ve you know, they’ve really thought about what the customer needed. How do you present the program in a really simple way?

Things like Virgin Hotels, I think you know from a personalization perspective, they ask you when you join, what don’t you want in your minibar? So again, rather than trying to guess all these things, they’re just taking it a very simple approach and said, actually, what they can deliver on is what you don’t want, rather than what you do want.

So I think, you know, I’ve kind of look at some of the kind of ways programs are executing some of those things. I think there’s definitely a shift to more engaging programs, gamified, making the program more than expression than a brand. And an example I’ll speak about a little bit later that I really like at the moment. But and I think just, you know, some of the innovative partnerships, so I guess partnerships in themselves on, you know, a trend, but I think recently I saw, I think it’s Hilton who did this you know, you could redeem your points for some football tickets at Chelsea.

Charlie: Yeah.

Camilo: And, you know, that in itself is quite a kind of standard thing to offer, but the way they did it is they kind of did a mock up of a hotel bedroom and you could spend 15, 20 minutes watching the football from your hotel bed. So I think it’s just kind of, you know, it gets harder and harder to do things that are innovative and different and that stand out and get PR. So just those kind of creative ideas of how to execute something really simple in a way that hasn’t been done before, I think is a good trend as well. 

Charlie: Yeah, I really like that one. I think it’s those days of the kind of one size fits all, don’t put too much effort to it and bash out a few points and hope everybody’s fine are really gone. I think we’re seeing that across every program actually now. They might be small innovations, but everyone is trying to kind of create that point of difference. That Hilton example is a great example. Here, five, 10 years ago, that just would have been get some tickets. And, you know, you probably would have, you know, received them in the post and gone. And now they’re actually trying to create an experience and a story around it. 

It’s interesting to see what translates from sort of mainstream marketing and those kinds of broader experiential approaches into what we’re all doing. We’re seeing a lot of that in Britain. Are you seeing that same sort of thing across all the markets that you’re working across? Because you sit in this hugely privileged position now, of course. How many markets was it you said? Was it 70? 

Camilo: I think we’re, I think 75 or so.

Charlie: 75. 

Camilo: And yeah, so, I mean, that, that’s one of the challenges, you know, trying to, obviously, you know, I’m based in the UK, so I have quite a UK Europe centric view on loyalty, so, I enjoy learning about what’s happening in, you know, in some markets like China, where there’s, you know, within travel retail and duty free, there are so many great programs and they structurally quite different to what we might be used to in Europe and the way that consumers engage is very different, the communication channels, what you need to do to get that cut through to a member is totally different. So I think there are those kind of regional kind of variances as well. 

But actually, you know, in our industry, at least our customers are very international, you know, they travel, you know, to, to transact in one of our stores, you have to be traveling. So I think it’s trying to find those things that are commonly understood globally and that appeal to you know, as wider audiences as possible and then just gonna tailor it locally where it makes sense.

Charlie: Nice. Yeah. That’s quite a common approach too. I love that whole freedom in a framework concept. We have a sort of single program globally, but then we kind of bring in those market specific twists.

That probably leads us on quite nicely to my next question, actually, because I’m very familiar with the program you work on, but I’m sure our listeners would love to hear more and actually love to hear more about the brand Avolta as well, because that’s been quite a journey in the last sort of a few years. So yeah, it would be brilliant. You know, what is your program? How does it work now? And critically, that big question we always ask is what sets it apart from the rest? 

Camilo: So, so the program’s called Red By Dufry. So do free was the previous name for Avolta. We rebranded in the autumn. So theRed By Dufry program is currently available in 50 of our markets in our duty free and convenient stores. And it’s, you know, the basic proposition is it’s a discount program. So you join, you get a discount. We have three tiers. The more you spend, you work your way through those tiers and you unlock additional discounts and benefits. 

So the program mechanics are pretty simple. It’s a simple proposition to communicate to customers. And I think, you know, one of the unique things about our program is that it is truly global. So it’s the same base proposition in every country. So if you join in the UK and then you go to Brazil or the US or Australia, you can interact in the same way with the program in all of those countries.

Charlie: Sounds simple to do, but for all of us that work in the industry, we know how unbelievably complicated that is to achieve. So a really nice example of the kind of the iceberg model there, isn’t there? It looks really simple on the top within a lot of depth and complexity under the water. 

Camilo: Yeah, definitely. And yeah, so there’s that kind of more transactional layer of the program and then we, you know, one of our you know, one of the great assets we have is all of all the brands we sell. So, you know, we’re not necessarily a consumer facing, you know, household name, but actually the products we sell, the brands we sell you know, people love them, they have their favorites.

So we leverage that a lot. So we have exclusive content. Prize draws gifts with purchase. We run exclusive masterclasses, some events for our top members as well really tailored around what their interests are and what brands they want to kind of hear from as well. And then things like, you know, the chance to buy limited edition products and those kinds of things.

Charlie: So, exclusive. That’s my favorite. When I go through Duty Free, it’s so exciting. It’s like ditch the kids, ditch the husband, run straight to the premium beauty and fragrance counter and see what’s in there. It’s quite an important ritual for my holiday. Actually. And as I know, I’m not alone as I look across, you know, the kind of shop floor, you can see everybody else doing the same thing. Everyone’s got their kind of go to place. And as you say, their favorite brands.

Camilo: Yeah. And that, you know, there’s been a lot of innovation and effort to create more inspiring store designs and, you know, places that people want to spend more time as well. So, it’s you know, it’s interesting to you know, see how we can engage some of those customers and you know, we’re constantly trying to find new ways to kind of work with our brands and create value for our members. 

Charlie: It’s interesting. You were talking about the sort of the most valuable members and actually you’re even running masterclasses for them. That’s quite an interesting thing that we’ve seen a lot of programs do actually almost an inner segmentation where they’re then identifying what sort of other things do those people get or is it just the masterclasses and what does a masterclass sort of look like? 

Camilo: So some of them are, you know, virtual, so it might be, you know, you’re learning about tequila or you know, like a particular beauty brand. So, again, because our members are in so many different countries, we try and do a mix of, you know, some of those more virtual experiences. We do occasionally do some in person dinners and events around a specific brand as well. But, you know, it’s trying to balance it between only touching the top X percent of your members versus delivering something for the other 90 something percent.

So it’s, you know, you want to create these aspirational experiences and benefits, but you also don’t want to exclude the vast majority of your audience who may never get to benefit from those. 

Charlie: Yeah. I think that’s a really common challenge, particularly in travel. Actually, it seems to be the sector that wrestles with that the most, actually, that tension between the two.

A couple of months ago, I did a podcast with Oracle Red Bull Racing, The Paddock, and they had a very similar challenge. And I was like, actually, that’s interesting that challenge is now translating and kind of, you know, that new sector of loyalty that’s exploding in kind of sports. So, yeah, we’ve always got to keep a lookout. They made a whole channel for their top tier fans called Discord, which I thought was really Elliott talked to us about. 

In your company, I mean, I know the answer again, this is, of course, it’s an important program. It’s a huge part of the business, but how important is that program to the business?

Camilo: It’s always been seen as very important. I think the challenge we have in our business is that we operate in so many countries with different retail brands and, you know, the loyalty program is a great way of bringing all of that together and driving awareness of the stores and locations where you can purchase from us amongst our members.

So, you know, in most cases you have to be traveling or flying to even be in one of our outlets as well. So the more we can learn about customers, the more data we collect, then the more we can then have an understanding of when they might be traveling. So we’re not like a grocery store program where we can say is a promotion and then someone tomorrow can walk in the store.

You know, you have to have that travel intent in the first place. So again, the loyalty program is a good way of incentivizing people to share that information with us or building up that kind of profile of a customer. And then, you know, the more we know, the more, you know, the better chance we have of engaging them before their journey and getting them into our store. So I think it’s kind of broadly seen that it’s important. 

Charlie: Yeah. It’s interesting that insight is so critical as well to that because a lot of brands and other sectors would say, you know, it’s important commercially, or it’s important from a brand point of view, but actually to have that insight and that need in your particular business to understand who they are and when they’re traveling and what they’re doing sort of first and foremost, probably sets you apart actually from quite a lot of programs for whom that might not be such a primary driver. It’s something we’re certainly seeing as the world of cookies changes on us all, but it’s great that you’re sort of leading the way in that space. 

Camilo: Yeah, exactly. And I think not only that, but you know, the variety of products and categories that we sell is then also understanding what actually is that person, you know, are they going to come and buy a bottle of water or are they going to buy a, you know, 200 pound bottle of whiskey or, you know, there are so many different audiences within that, that it’s really key that we build up that understanding and you know, so that we can create relevant messaging as well. 

Charlie: Nice. And what about the most important lessons that you’ve learned so far? Like, what really stands out to you that you think our listeners are like, Oh, that is a good lesson.

Camilo: I mean, this is quite basic, but I think wherever I’ve worked, I think it’s important to just really understand customers and the environment in which, you know, it’s easy to kind of sit in the head office and think we’ve designed the best proposition and we’ve got fantastic campaigns and everyone loves it.

And I think sometimes it’s, you know, you do end up thinking that you’re doing a great job, but actually it’s really important that you spend time on the shop floor and understand what works well, what doesn’t work, and also some of the operational challenges around it as well, because you can have the best shiny proposition in the world, but if it’s poorly executed or people don’t know about it, then that’s kind of where it, where it falls apart.

So, you know, when I travel, I do try and spend as much time as possible in our stores actually last week I had the opportunity to tour three of our, three of the airports in New York and spend time speaking to staff, just observing customers at the checkout and looking at the different signage and opportunities for promoting the program, but also looking at our competitors store as well.

So I think the biggest kind of lesson is to take that time to step back and really have that customer’s view of what it is that has been designed, what’s, you know, what the loyalty offering is, but actually how it’s executed on the ground as well. 

Charlie: I agree. I think actually it’s quite easy to sit in a tower, isn’t it? And then design and it’s great in theory, but actually that practical front facing insight is where you see the program come to life. 

One of my favorite examples that I was told about by a behavioral science team was in, in Nectar, actually, in the Sainsbury’s world, when they were initially testing the the shot with the app, they suddenly realized that you would need three hands to make that work because you had to have two for the trolley. And then how do you hold the phone as you’re going around? And I thought, actually, that’s a fantastic example of actually, it can be great in theory, but then you’ve actually got to go and see how it works to make I can’t imagine what that’s like across, you know, 50 countries as well. And actually Seeing that in all those different environments. Not to mention in an airport where people are wrestling, you know, small children, hand luggage, bags, you know, water, different security protocols. It’s definitely a huge amount of complexity there. 

Camilo: That next one’s a great, you know, I use it quite a lot and I’m always like dropping my phone and it’s, you know, it’s a great, it works seamlessly. But actually kind of, it can be quite difficult when you’ve got kids in tow and, you know. 

Charlie: Yeah. In my case, a pug, what a good measure, you know, everybody’s gone crazy. Although to be fair, I’m not allowed to take the pug into the supermarket, but she accompanies me everywhere else. It’s those real world things that people face.

Camilo: Exactly.

Charlie: What about success? So as well as obviously continuous insight and learning about your audience, that’s obviously a key driver for the program, but what are the other kinds of metrics that you’re looking at? You know, what kind of KPIs do you track? 

Camilo: So I think definitely membership growth is important for us. So I think you know, we’re a relatively new program. And I think you know, there’s always a desire to have the biggest membership base and, you know, a focus on how many customers you’ve got. But I think it’s also important that you look at what they’re then actually doing because you could have 100 million members, but if, you know, none of them are engaged, then it’s kind of pointless.

So definitely, you know, how active they are and what their activity is. I think also for us, you know, we see a huge role for how we play a part in the wider travel ecosystem. So through, through partnerships and obviously the more members we have, the more interesting we then become to you know, airlines, hotel companies, other brands.

So it’s, you know, we also think about our B2B. presence in the industry and how we can improve that. And then I think more operationally, you know, our CRM team then look at really how the activity they’re doing is impacting the membership base, how they can maintain that healthy active rate, reactivate lapsed customers, you know, quite kind of standard things for the industry.

But with that additional barrier not being able to so easily drive people into the store. So I think it’s you know, we kind of have pretty standard KPIs, but layered onto that is the thinking of what we can actually do about some of those. 

Charlie: I think it’s the application of the action, isn’t it? As well as the insight. There’s no point just knowing it for the sake of knowing it. You’ve then actually got to be able to act on it and shift the dial and kind of grow the value of the program off the back of it. 

I’m guessing that stakeholder management is a large part of your role and communicating internally across all those countries and markets and different types of people who the program affects. How do you manage that turn of internal communications? It’s a question that we introduced a few podcasts ago, actually, because it seems to be a hot topic in the loyalty industry. Like, how do I manage all of this? How do I sit my role within the business? Like, what are your techniques? What have you learned on the way that you’d advise on that area? 

Camilo: So I think we’ve got, you know, we use the usual internal comms channels, but in our business, at least we really heavily rely on the support of our regional teams. So, my role is a global role, but clearly we need to make sure the program works in the different regions.

So we have that kind of organizational structure and we really rely on them to kind of spread the word about the program and support us in those regions, but also tell us what doesn’t work. What’s a stupid idea? What, you know, in practice sounds great, but just doesn’t resonate with customers.

And then we then also rely on them to then communicate with the frontline staff and be the ones you know, doing the store visits and kind of, as well. So, you know, they’re really great in driving that awareness and we have some really fun and creative incentive programs for the teams in the stores to drive signups and awareness and uses of the programs.

And these are all created a kind of regional or local level as well. So we, you know, we, we communicate at the global level, but it’s really those regional teams that kind of do the hard work to really make sure everyone is aware and using the program. And then we have forums where they can then share that best practice. So if there’s something that’s worked really well in North America, then how can we copy and paste that and use those learnings for Asia Pacific or other markets as well. So there’s that kind of internal community of people working on loyalty as well. 

Charlie: Oh, that’s really cool. Like a little internal network of advocates and super fans who are sort of sharing insight to make the program work. That’s great. That’s particularly nice. Actually, that behavior is incentivized as well and actually rewarded rather than just being sort of part of the day job. That’s very cool. I’m sure there were lots of people listening that going, how could I apply that to my particular challenge? 

What about what’s coming next? What does the future look like? And what are you able to share? 

Camilo: So I can’t share too much at the moment, but we have some really big, ambitious plans for the program. We want to grow it dramatically. We want to deliver a best in class, a proposition for our members. And I really want it to be a program that, you know, the program at the moment is quite transactional. I really want to kind of make it much more engaging and just fun as an experience as well. 

I think there’s a lot more we can do to drive advocacy from our employees as well. And then, you know, I really want to kind of establish our presence as well in, in the kind of travel ecosystem as well. So big things to come, happy to come back in there. 

Charlie: I’ll ask you again in the future. 

Camilo: Yeah. Whenever I can.

Charlie: I mean, you’re not alone, isn’t it? The big global report has just come out that talks about, you know, 90 percent of programs wanting to revamp this year. And I think that’s something we’re seeing with all our guests. We actually, we sort of opened the podcast. Didn’t we in terms of people’s plan for change and plan for innovation. So it’s great that there are big exciting things to come. We’ll have to get you back on when that’s all live and yeah, you can tell us what you’ve done and how it’s changed. 

If we then go back to the kind of the loyalty industry then, and how you rely, you know, where do you get your updates in the, on the loyalty industry from? I mean, I know you’re a big fan of Let’s Talk Loyalty podcast, so that’s great. But where else do you look and where else would you recommend our listeners look for kind of, how do they stay on top of what’s happening? 

Camilo: There’s so much going on in the industry one of the resources I turn to quite regularly at the moment is the Global Loyalty Organization. They have a website with like a news section and it’s just a constant stream of things going on and it’s almost impossible to keep up with, but it really neatly summarizes all the key stories from around the globe, which again, I can’t imagine is a very easy task for them. So that’s something I’m kind of using quite regularly at the moment.

And then conferences as well. So I think, you know, post COVID, I think there’ve been, it’s been a great return to some of those in person events. And not just the content you hear, but I think, you know, the net connections you can make is really important, particularly in our role where we’re trying to build some of those partnerships and relationships. I don’t think anything really beats some of that in person connection.

So those are the kind of places I turn to. And then I find my LinkedIn feed is just kind of, quite specifically content on loyalty anyway. So again, there’s some great thought leaders and content creators on my LinkedIn that I kind of hear from every day. 

Charlie: Yeah, I think those are three great sources. So Global Loyalty Organization conferences and then LinkedIn. I think that’s a fairly common theme for most of us. I’m really enjoying the return of the conferences as well. And I think post COVID we all went back to that. And my favorite initially was the case studies. I love, you know, it’s one of the reasons I love hosting the podcast because you can talk to people what it’s like to actually run the program. So you get the theory and the practice and that really comes shining through in those case studies at the conferences

But what I’m also really liking now it’s the kind of, you know, the point of view. It’s the panel that you see on sustainability where somebody’s arguing, actually, it’s got to be baked into the loyalty program and somebody’s arguing that actually, what’s cost of living crisis, people aren’t interested. So we’re doing it, but it’s not our priority. And I think actually that kind of debate, it just makes you think it doesn’t it? You come away from each of those with kind of four or five good ideas and hopefully a whole handful of connections. 

Camilo: And I think it’s, you know, it’s a commitment to travel to a conference or, you know, even if it’s in your home city, it’s time out of the office. So I think because everyone has made that commitment, it makes it a really productive use of time and everyone’s there to discuss and be challenged and share points of view. So I find them really, really important. 

Charlie: Yeah, I’ve quite liked the kind of the rise of the round table breakfast as well, mostly because I’m a terrible foodie and I love a good breakfast. I spoke at one a little while ago, and it was really interesting to get kind of 12 programs round a table, Chatham House rules, you know, no one shared outside and actually to sort of talk about the real opportunities and the real challenges and a safe space. And, you know, see what the travel sector would recommend to retail, would recommend to sports, would recommend to FMCG.

I think those are great. I think we definitely need more of those as we all kind of work together. Particularly as loyalty marketing seems to be rising up to the top table, actually. I think sort of 10, 15 years ago, it was very much a department and now it seems quite integral to the brand strategy of a lot of big players, which is an exciting time.

As part of all that trawling conferences and obviously scrolling on LinkedIn all the time, I’m joking, I know you don’t, but what are sort of some new ideas or innovations that you’ve seen of or admired? I mean, obviously we started off talking about Good Pair Days and that really kind of cool example there, but what else have you seen?

Camilo: So another one I’m a big fan of is from Octopus Energy. It’s called Octoplus, which I think again, really clever name, but also you know, like, an energy app kind of sits in your utility folder on your phone. You might look at it. You think you’ve been charged the wrong amount or, you know, it’s never really been, you know, on your favorites or home screen.

And I think what they’ve done is taken something quite mundane and, you know, people resent paying for utilities. But actually they’ve really thought about how they could interweave a more gamified experience into their app. 

So, you know, you there’s a monthly spin the wheel where you can win your bill. They do energy challenges. So if you use less energy, a period they set you then get rewarded for it. So again, they’ve taken some pretty simple mechanics and really thought about how they could kind of make that an integral part of the overall experience. And I think it just works to, I mean, saving money on your bill is obviously an incentive, but it also does make you think about your energy usage. So I think it’s really clever in that respect as well. So I think that’s one. 

The other one, it’s not an innovation as such, but I think there’s so much focus on innovation and technology and, you know, what’s next. And actually, you know, when I go to Basel in Switzerland, where I had offices, I always try and stay at this same hotel and they’re not part of a chain, they don’t have a loyalty program, but every time I get a handwritten note saying, welcome back to your home in Basel, there’s a chocolate on the bed. And I think I admire the effort that someone’s gone to, to spend 30 seconds writing a personalized note. And I think I see that as innovation because they don’t have to do that. They don’t have to bother going to that effort. And you know, I never booked directly with them. I booked through a travel agent. And again, they don’t mind. They don’t kind of penalize me for doing so.  And then just the third one I’ll, is a bit of a plug for us, but. 

Charlie: That’s allowed you’re on the podcast. 

Camilo: Which is a partnership we did with Status offering a Status Match. So we worked with loyalty Status quo and it’s, you know, that’s not a new concept. It’s been around a while. They’re a great company in, in, in that space, but we were the first retail partner. So, you know, we had a conversation. We identify the potential new use case for this and we saw that opportunity to use a proven mechanic in a slightly different way to drive high value customer acquisition. So again, I think it’s just thinking about how you can take existing things and find new applications for them as well, I think is an innovative thing in itself. 

Charlie: Yeah, and I think that Status Match that is so normal to all of us that worked in travel loyalty is so not normal to anyone in any other sector, you know, it’s so rare to see a retail or an FMCG or a sport or a coffee shop program or anybody even think about Status Match. And I wonder if that will be one of the next big things that we see start to come in. You know, we’ve got big challenges in the British market on member pricing, which was sort of 2023 is, you know, big news 2022 and before was all about subscription. I think it’ll be really interesting to see when those sort of other types of rewards start coming into the market.

So yes, thank you for providing a test case for us all. And you must let us know on the next podcast, how it’s going is there anything else this podcast that you would like to share with our listeners? 

Camilo: No, just, you know, if you don’t know about our program or you know, feel free to to check it out. So you can download the Red By Dufry app and join and, you know, any feedback, any questions happy to answer.

Charlie: Oh, that’s great. Thank you. And I also recommend that it makes the airport experience a little bit cooler as you go through. So definitely check out, keep an eye on what’s coming as well.

If people do have those questions, how should they reach out to you? We will, of course, put your LinkedIn in the profile notes and kind of contact details for the podcast, but how, what’s the easiest way to get hold of you? 

Camilo: Yeah. So on LinkedIn I don’t think there is anyone else with my name. Maybe I’m wrong. And then I’m hoping to plan hoping to attend some of the key conferences and events this year as well. So always look forward to you know, I’m a loyalty geek, so I just love talking about all these things with like minded people. So yeah, hoping to attend some of those in person this year as well.

Charlie: Oh, that’s awesome. Well, look, from one super loyalty geek to another thank you ever so much for coming on the podcast today and telling us all about Red by Dufry and what’s going on at Avolta. It’s been a really, really interesting episode. Thank you ever so much. So that is goodbye from Let’s Talk Loyalty. I hope you’ve all enjoyed our podcast.

Paula: The Australian Loyalty Association is proud to bring you The Asia Pacific Loyalty Awards to celebrate excellence, innovation and best practice in the thriving loyalty industry across the region. Tickets are now available for the awards gala event taking place on the 14th of March 2024 at the Glasshouse Melbourne, Australia.

Book your tickets or table at AustralianLoyaltyAssociation.com.

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