A recent airline consumer survey conducted by Deloitte, a leading consulting and audit firm, has revealed that over two-thirds (67 percent) of business travellers are open to switching to a competing airline loyalty programme, and a surprising 72 percent of high-frequency business travellers participate in multiple airline loyalty plans.
Deloitte has released “Rising above the Clouds: Charting a course for renewed airline consumer loyalty,” an inaugural survey that provides insights into consumer travel behaviour and loyalty programme satisfaction in the airline industry. The survey indicates airline loyalty programmes are not as effective as they could be in driving loyalty among their core audience of frequent travellers. The survey has also revealed that more than one-third of travellers participate in four or more.
“Our survey findings demonstrate that airlines should consider taking a hard look at how they are engaging with their loyalty programme members if they want to cultivate genuine brand loyalty,” said Jonathan Wall, Assistant Director, Hospitality and Real Estate Advisory at Deloitte Middle East.
“With increasing competition and heightened consumer pragmatism, airlines may need to focus on personalising the customer experience in a way that makes individual travellers feel special.”
Considering airlines use reward programmes to drive brand loyalty exclusively, a remarkable 50 percent of overall respondents are enrolled in two or more airline loyalty programmes, with one-third of overall respondents participating in two or more programmes. Participation in multiple programmes among business travellers increased to nearly 44 percent.
Furthermore, the survey shows two-thirds of overall respondents are receptive to the idea of switching to a competing loyalty programme — even after achieving the highest status level with their current programme.
The findings also indicate that the share of wallet for a “preferred” airline is significantly low. Only 44 percent of all travellers and 40 percent of business travellers fly at least three-quarters of their air miles on their “preferred” airline, while nearly one-third of business travellers fly fewer than half of their air miles on their “preferred” airline.
Perhaps even more worrying for airlines, the survey reveals that the importance of loyalty programmes appears to be surprisingly low.
Travellers overall – and business travellers specifically – ranked loyalty programmes as only the 19th and 18th most important attribute when selecting an airline (out of 26 attributes).
Over 75 percent of high-frequency business travellers view more opportunities to earn and redeem points as vital, as opposed to just 64 percent of all respondents.
Meanwhile, only 40 percent of all respondents believe access to airport lounges to be important whereas 68 percent of high-frequency business travellers value such access.
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