How Retailer Loyalty Programs Can Take Advantage of Summer Travel

by Danielle Brown on Aug 16, 2016 12:00:00 AM e-Commerce, Retail

How_Retailer_Loyalty_Programs_Can_Take_Advantage_of_Summer_Travel-509658-edited.jpgTemperatures aren’t the only thing rising this summer. Each year, more than 200 million passengers board flights all across the country, making summer the hottest time of the year to travel. In order to cut down the cost of a family vacation during June, July, or August, many travelers are turning toward loyalty programs. Whether it’s saving up for discounted airfare or a free tank of gas, loyalty points and miles give travelers the opportunity to maximize their summer vacation plans. For retailers, there’s never been a better time to accommodate such travelers by enabling ways for them to earn toward that big trip while shopping with you.

Add some flexibility to your program.

Instead of earning and burning their loyalty points all in one place, shoppers want options with where and how they spend their loyalty points. Although retailers may not be able to offer that free flight or Caribbean getaway that summer travelers are looking for, introducing the ability to transfer points between loyalty programs or even earn airline and hotel points in exchange for money spent at their store ensures retailers will still be able to attract and retain loyalty program members this summer travel season. After all, consumers are always on the lookout for new ways to reach their loyalty goals. By providing travelers with the freedom and flexibility to spend loyalty points as they please, retailers can help boost sales all summer long.

Leverage existing loyalty currency.

It can be tough for retailers to offer their shoppers the travel rewards they’re looking for. Yet another alternative is to offer them the ability to earn in the travel currencies they’re already collecting. Consider partnering with loyalty programs consumers already know and love and leveraging their currency within your own program. While at first it may seem strange to reward customers with miles and points from a different loyalty program, leveraging loyalty can help bring big benefits to retailers.

Creating a loyalty program and establishing the value of your loyalty currency can take the lion’s share of time, money, and other resources. Not to mention, the bar is high to create a currency that people actually want to earn. By leveraging already established currencies in a loyalty program, retailers can not only reduce the costs and complexity associated with building a program from the ground up, but also provide added credibility and incentive for shoppers to keep coming back.

By enabling customers to collect in the travel reward currencies that they’re already invested in, retailers can better attract customers this summer travel season. After all, consumers are always on the lookout for new ways to reach their loyalty goals. By providing travelers with the freedom and flexibility to earn and spend loyalty points as they please, retailers can help boost sales all summer long.

From introducing flexible currency to leveraging a popular loyalty program, each of these changes should be made with one group in mind—the customers. Rather than guessing as to what type of flexibility customers are looking for, retailers should give customers an opportunity to state their preferences through online surveys or focus groups. The more retailers understand each customer’s perspective, the easier it will be for them to craft a loyalty program that keeps summer travelers coming back for more.

Once retailers have pinpointed which changes will make their loyalty program most valuable to consumers, the next step is to clearly communicate those changes on more than one occasion. No matter how attractive a retailer’s loyalty program offerings may be, summer travelers won’t go out of their way to spend money at that retailer’s store unless they catch wind of such earning opportunities. Developing an email marketing campaign or simply engaging customers at checkout will help ensure they aren’t caught off guard by any upcoming changes to the loyalty program.

Loyalty programs are an essential part of the summer travel season. Earning enough points and miles from loyalty programs means big savings for consumers. By offering customers the flexibility to earn points from their favorite loyalty programs and redeem those points for rewards that will turn their next vacation into reality, retailers can drive sales and engagement all through the summer.

Photo by nitinut/

Danielle Brown is the VP of Marketing at Points, the global leader in loyalty currency management.

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