New Survey: Customer Loyalty Not As Important As Cheap Travel Deals

on March 27, 2013

Airplane In Flight

Would you say that your personality was more loyal than frugal? You might want to think again. The results of a new survey show that airline travelers care more about cheap travel deals than they do about loyalty to a particular airline or hotel.

The survey and its results were coordinated by Consultancy Deloitte and it found that only eight per cent of people stay at the same hotel chain, while only 14 per cent of people always fly on the same airline.

The more striking results from the survey are the conclusions drawn about the growing irrelevance of frequent flyer miles and other customer reward benefits.

While both hotels and airlines place a high degree of importance on their reward programs, in terms of actually getting people to travel, they didn’t really work as a big incentive with airlines ranking 19/26 and hotels ranking 20/26 attributes in terms of things that influence people to take a trip. Responders cared more about price point and past experience when deciding to take a vacation.

The poor state of the economy has an obvious impact on the consumer’s travel plans as well.

The survey found consumers seek 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.

Consumers also don’t care as much about flying first-class, particularly when it comes to domestic travel. A whopping 64 per cent of consumers said they fly economy on domestic flights for business (46 per cent for international), while 79 per cent fly economy for leisure on domestic flights (66 per cent for international).

Finally, while it seems like social media and using apps on your iPhone is the only to travel these days, apparently this isn’t the case.

According to the survey, 63 per cent of respondents never want to interact with a travel brand via social media.

Additionally, 80 per cent of respondents have never downloaded a hotel or airline app to their smartphones.

Consultancy Deloitte’s vice chairman explained their findings.

“According to Deloitte’s survey, it is clear that travel brands need to up their game if they want to drive genuine loyalty among consumers,” said Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and US Travel, Hospitality and Leisure leader. “With heightened competition and eroding customer loyalty, hotels and airlines, now, more than ever, need to focus on enhancing and personalising the consumer experience.”

He went on to talk about the almighty dollar still being the most important travel determinant.

“…Deloitte’s research showed that while earning and redeeming points are the most important attributes for choosing hotel and airline loyalty programs, travel brands should focus on enhancing the customer experience, making rewards personally meaningful, encouraging loyalty with unexpected rewards if they want to boost consumer engagement, and ultimately building long-term customer relationships,” he said.