Loyalty has gone out the window, a new Deloitte survey finds. Only eight percent of survey respondents say that they always stay at the same hotel brand, while just 14% say they always fly the same airline.
“With heightened competition and eroding customer loyalty, hotels and airlines, now, more than ever, need to focus on enhancing and personalizing the consumer experience,” said Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. Travel, Hospitality and Leisure leader in a release.
Despite most hotel brands touting that loyalty and reward programs drive travel, these programs ranked low on the list of consumer influences – value and past experience were much higher priority items. That said, more than half of survey respondents (55%) ranked loyalty programs “high importance” for airlines and just under half (45%) ranked loyalty programs high importance for hotels.
Why? Perhaps it’s because travelers find that loyalty programs just don’t offer that much. Most consumers actually believe that grocery store loyalty programs offer more bang for their buck than their travel reward program of choice.
Deloitte researchers also suppose that travelers have become more pragmatic in light of the economy, seeking value for money, comfort and location when choosing a hotel, while on-time arrivals and departures, safety and value for money are the most important factors for choosing an airline. One thing is for sure – value rules. In this vein, half of survey respondents (49%) said that they have used flash sale sites, although most admit to booking directly (61% for hotel; 59% for air travel).
What does this mean for the consumer? Not much – yet. But it doesn’t bode well for the travel industry. Brands wanting to up their loyalty membership engagement should focus on those things that really matter to the traveler – experience and value – rather than perks that sound good on paper but offer no real benefit.
The web-based survey was commissioned by Deloitte and polled 4,000 hotel and airline customers, based on hotel stay and/or airline travel during the past 12 months.
[Image Credit: American Airlines]