back icon Back Insights 08/17/2023

The Power of Diversification: Strategies to Enhance Your Travel Rewards Programs

In the dynamic landscape of travel rewards programs, it’s crucial for businesses to adapt and evolve to meet the diverse needs of their members and customers. Exploring the power of diversification in enhancing your travel rewards programs is crucial for driving long-term success. By diversifying your approach, you can unlock a world of opportunities that go beyond the traditional boundaries of travel rewards.

Travelers want choices and flexibility. They want loyalty programs to suit their needs. This means earning and redeeming across the travel journey—and in their everyday lives. By the end of this blog, you will gain valuable insights and strategies to enhance your B2B travel rewards programs. Let’s dive in and unlock the potential of diversification in the world of travel rewards!

Why You Should Diversify Your Travel Rewards Programs

Travel reward programs offer incentives for members to purchase from businesses and accumulate points or miles that will benefit the customer. These incentives can be redeemed as cashback, bonus points, airline miles, or other forms of reward currency. Travel rewards programs are ultimately designed to encourage membership usage and loyalty to the brand.

Maximizing travel rewards is crucial because it can help members save money, earn free travel, and score discounts on other services. Additionally, the more rewards programs you offer, the more opportunities members will have to take advantage of the special savings each one provides and stay loyal to your program. 

Benefits of Diversifying Travel Rewards Programs

Diversifying travel rewards within your organization can enhance travel experiences. Diversification can also benefit you and help you avoid devaluations seen from traditional airline and hotel reward programs. Here are a couple of examples of how diversifying travel rewards benefits consumers.

Increased Flexibility

Having flexibility with rewards can give members more opportunities for earning and redeeming points. For example, offering customers or members access to exclusive travel deals and experiences not available to the public through open platforms. This offers access to a broader and more exclusive range of airlines, hotels, or experiences that members can book with points they may not have been able to with other programs.

Enhanced Reward Options

Travelers want loyalty programs that fit their unique needs. Travelers who want immediate gratification will likely respond well to enhanced reward options such as limited-time offers and gamification. Get people engaged with your program during and between trips with a chance to get points and status in a fun and immediate way. 

Diversifying Loyalty Rewards Redemption Options with Cruises

Cruises are often overlooked when it comes to loyalty programs, but they offer distinctive travel experiences and value propositions that can set loyalty programs apart from the competition. Let’s explore why cruises deserve attention in your travel rewards program and how to make your travel rewards program more appealing to your members.

Cruise Rewards

Cruise rewards cater to travelers who prefer a unique way of exploring the world by water. These programs reward customers for their repeat business and provide incentives for them to continue choosing cruises. Cruise rewards include discounted or free cruise packages, onboard credits, cabin upgrades, and exclusive access to special events and amenities. By partnering with reputable cruise lines, your travel rewards program can offer a wide range of cruise options to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are some key benefits of cruise rewards:

  • Luxurious vacations at sea with elegant accommodations, gourmet dining, and top-notch amenities.
  • Exclusive perks like access to private lounges, priority boarding, spa treatments, specialty dining, and complimentary beverages.
  • A variety of cruise options to suit different preferences and budgets, catering to weekend getaways, family-friendly trips, and luxury expeditions.
  • Opportunities for unique experiences and destinations, including visits to breathtaking locations and engaging in exciting shore excursions.

By recognizing the distinctive appeal of cruises within loyalty programs, travelers can unlock exceptional vacation experiences and receive enhanced value for their loyalty.

Types of Travel Reward Programs to Consider

Structured travel rewards programs beyond traditional airline or hotel loyalty programs have long been in place to support customers. These alternative travel rewards programs and credit card rewards programs offer various reward program options to consider.

Credit Card Rewards

With a credit card rewards option, customers don’t have to redeem rewards for travel purchases – they can redeem them for a statement credit, cash back, gift cards, or merchandise. 

For this kind of program, the credit card issuer typically has a portal on its website that lists redemption options and points values. Rewards programs usually use a 1:1 conversion rate, meaning every 100 points or miles is worth $1. However, your rewards could gain or lose some value depending on how you redeem them.

Some issuers, like Chase, also offer boosted points values or other perks for travel purchases made through their online portal. With this in mind, it can help to know how many points and miles are worth in any program before customers start earning or brainstorming ways to redeem points. 

Transferable Points Programs

Some travel rewards cards let you transfer points or miles to the issuer’s travel partners, which may include frequent flier programs or hotel loyalty programs. To redeem rewards by transferring points to a travel partner, members can directly transfer rewards to an eligible partner through the issuer’s online portal. 

For example, Delta partners with businesses such as Instacart, Lyft, and Airbnb for points accrual. If you want to earn airline miles through these partners, you’ll need to be a SkyMiles member. American Airlines and Hyatt have partnered to give World of Hyatt members 1 World of Hyatt point per $1 spent on American flights. But you have to be an AAdvantage member and link accounts to gain more rewards on your flights.

Co-branded Partnerships

When customers sign up for a co-branded partnership, they can redeem points for travel, such as airfare-related purchases. Airline credit cards are considered co-branded since they let you earn rewards within a specific frequent flier program. An example of a co-branded credit card is the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card, which earns the cardholder miles wherever they use the credit card, and often double miles at restaurants, supermarkets, and Delta-specific purchases.

Strategies for Diversifying Travel Rewards

If you’re ready for your business to diversify its travel rewards strategies, and after your customers realize how they can maximize travel rewards, they’ll remain loyal to your business and look to your program for the best program incentives. Here are some strategies to get you started with diversifying travel rewards.

Establish Brand Values

Diversifying a travel rewards program requires some high-level thinking before getting into the more technical aspects. For example, does your brand value inclusivity and affordability, or is it one that offers exclusive, high-end services? Who is most loyal to your brand, and what would entice them to keep using your program? Ask yourself these questions until you find the direction you want the program to go towards.

Set Goals

Clearly define what you want to accomplish with your loyalty program. Do you want to offer a premium quality that differentiates you from the competition? Do you need to collect more data from your customers so you can offer more personalized services? Should your target audience test your new offerings? Your goals determine the activities that you reward through the program and often the kinds of incentives to offer.

Research Program Partnerships

Partnerships with businesses may allow your members to earn rewards faster by allowing them to earn points during their day-to-day experiences. When you understand your members’ wants and needs, you can focus on potential partners from whom you think your members will benefit (and make purchases) to increase points and loyalty to your program.

A woman standing on a cruise available through diversify travel rewards programs.

Maximizing Value Through Diversification

Through diversification, members can fulfill the maximum value from travel rewards. Members are loyal because of reliable and consistent experiences from companies they believe appreciate them. Price and transactional value often take a back seat to the reassurance that expectations will be met, if not exceeded. After all, when members’ expectations are met, they can relax and enjoy the rest of the experience.

Strategic Redemption

While loyalty programs with co-branded cards promote the ability to ”earn anywhere,” redemption options can have a narrow focus. Travel reward programs can strengthen and advertise redemption partnerships at all levels. What’s key is to explore loyalty touchpoints and partners that will move the loyalty focus from the journey to daily life.

Optimize Program Combinations

Travelers may never meet their individual travel volumes as they did in the past. Optimize flexible program combinations to give members a chance at status—such as achieving status via points instead of just nights or miles. This complements the everyday earn and redeem consideration because it empowers spending overall, not just for travel, as a way to gain status. 

Diversify Your Travel Loyalty Rewards Programs

Diversifying your travel rewards programs opens up a world of opportunities for your members, allowing you to enhance their travel experiences, access unique redemption options, and maximize the value of your rewards. They can gain access to a wider range of loyalty rewards redemption options, including cruises and timeshares, which provide unique and memorable travel experiences. 

If you’re looking for expert guidance and support in diversifying your travel rewards programs, consider partnering with arrivia. As industry experts, arrivia can help you navigate the complexities of travel rewards diversification so you can make informed decisions that align with your goals. Discover how arrivia’s comprehensive white label travel solutions and industry-leading expertise can elevate your travel rewards programs to new heights.