Airlines should be waiting to take off with the best give-back!

The airline industry in tatters and with no relief in sight, it is not surprising loyalty programs have taken a thrashing. But sure enough, the scene is soon to change with a festive season beckoning, bags are getting packed and ready to leave. The industry can see a peak in revenue for the calendar year.

So how does one ensure higher seat occupancy through the peak season without hurting their own revenue stream?

Most airline programs revolve around free seats on its aircraft which in a perfect world makes sense. But in today’s coronavirus world we have to see a different path. A new way to ensure your seats are occupied and you increase revenue. A way this can be possible is through social give back. Yes, social giveback!

We always tend to underestimate the strength of social giveback. We tend to forget the connection it makes with your customer. Face value of points is always taken in currency value but the perceived value of ensuring a child gets a chance to be educated or a girl gets access to a sanitary pad is unmeasurable or in Mastercards’ terms ‘priceless’.

And that’s how rewards should be structured. As usual, a customer would always want more for what he pays and better rewards. This leads to a war between multiple programs running in the same sector trying to woo the customer by offering the best of the best. And thereby only digging the rabbit hole deeper. By creating a structure of reward points utilized for the greater good, you are not only increasing the value of the reward to the end consumer but doing a great deed by ensuring to be a part of social change.

Another plus would be for the airline to able to determine the value of the ‘voucher’ on the redemption catalogue. It may seem like not much but huge amounts of redemptions lead to a huge decline in the liability of the program. Keeping it at a modest burn rate would be ideal but in case a strategy to ensure a decrease in loyalty point liability then it could be a lower value. In the normal case of a reward, it would backfire. But in the case of social loyalty, it is inducing thought of social change and thereby leading to higher redemptions irrelevant to its burn rate. Guard railing the program can also be an added layer with programs ensuring perceived value to the end customer but maintaining redemption rates. Blackout periods wouldn’t be applicable and you’re ascertaining a happy customer.

Campaigns structured around the program can also give it a lift and in the eyes of the flyer, it can help create a deeper relationship. Hence a strong campaign around social change could help the idea take off.

Although social loyalty may not be the only factor in determining a full flight occupancy, it would be a case worth listening to and open to conversation at the least. In the season of the Novel Coronavirus, it is imperative loyalty programs also get novel!

To know more about how you can add social loyalty to your current rewards structure, write to