Customer loyalty in travel found wanting

The travel industry is one of the worst performing sectors for customer loyalty, new research shows.

Around two thirds of adults have little or no loyalty to airlines and more than half the population (57.4%) has no allegiance to holiday destinations.

When asked to rank their loyalty to a range of elements in their lives, most adults placed airlines and holiday destinations at bottom of the list, with aspects such as choice of car manufacturer, bars, and restaurants scoring more highly.

As well as revealing trends in overall brand loyalty within the sector, the latest poll also highlighted a number of findings regarding the use of loyalty cards within the industry.

In particular, it was found that only 3% of UK adults regularly use airline loyalty programmes and less than 1% exploits hotel schemes on a regular basis.

But more than a third said they would be more likely to use a travel company which offered such a scheme, and almost 70% feel more loyal to a brand for which they own a loyalty card.

Rob Nichols, managing director of plastic card manufacturer Plastic Card Services, which commissioned the report, said:

“In today’s economic client, it’s critical that brands are doing all they can to create loyal customers, but it seems that the travel industry has some way to go.

“As the results suggests, there is an opportunity for businesses to drive loyalty, but in order to do this, they must be offering customers added value, especially compared to their competitors.

“While predominately used for lower value purchases, loyalty cards are a great way to create brand advocates and importantly, encourage repeat custom. It’s also an opportunity for organisations to get their brand in a customer’s wallet or purse, and keep it front of mind on a daily basis.”

It is believed that 86% of the UK adult population is part of a loyalty card scheme, and on average, consumers carry 3.7 cards in their wallet or purse.

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