The other day, I purchased a new wallet. While going through the ritual of setting it up, I realized I have loyalty cards for close to a dozen local businesses; and all are like precious gold to me! And I’m not alone. Members of customer loyalty programs are75% more likely to make another purchase after receiving an incentive. While having a punch-card for every purchase may not seem feasible for travel planners, here are tips for using loyalty programs to help grow your business. 

Give exclusive access  

Discounted pricing is not the only benefit that make consumers more loyal to brands. Over 50% of consumers want exclusive access and personalized recommendations as part of a reward program. This type of membership elevates your brand by adding a sense of luxury and exclusivity. Travel professionals can showcase new itineraries, destinations and limited time offers selected specifically for loyalty program participants.  

Reward engagement  

Travel planning professionals do not have to wait until a client has made a purchase before using incentives. Potential clients can be recognized based on consistent engagement. To build loyalty among travelers who follow your organization’s social media or visit your website to read a blog post, create an opt-in email offer to download exclusive content. This tactic allows you to learn about specific travel offers will help tailor future engagements for customers’ preferences.   

Incentivize positive feedback 

Travel advisors can gain new customers through friends and family referrals. Receiving an endorsement from a trusted person may be the highest form of flattery for a tour operator seeking to grow their client base. Referral rewards are not just limited to your client’s inner circles. Another referral marketing option is to reward travelers for providing recommendations and reviews on websites and social media. Potential customers tend to trust other customers more than advertising and 95% of travelers read online reviews before booking a trip. Travel professionals who encourage authentic word-of-mouth testimonials from satisfied customers will elevate their company’s reputation. New customers gained through loyalty referrals have a higher retention rate. 

Support social causes  

Another loyalty-building technique is to provide customers the opportunity to do good. Values are important to consumers. Two-thirds of customers are more willing to spend money with brands that take a stance on social issues they care about. For travelers, the idea of supporting sustainable travel has grown in popularity in recent years. Travel advisors should look for opportunities to support ecofriendly destinations and local community initiatives to align with this trend. Examples of sustainable incentives include rewarding off-season travel, booking with local businesses and participating in environmentally friendly activities. Travel planners can also offer a contribution to a nonprofit organization that is dear to their client. 

Customers who are loyal to your brand are valuable to your business. Demonstrate how important they are by rewarding their dedication.