How will loyalty programs adapt to changing traveler demands and decreased travel levels? Read below to learn more.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic sent the travel world into chaos and uncertainty, loyalty programs centered on miles traveled, ticket class, number of hotel stays, and the like to earn status and rewards. Really, it was all about the act of travel…one needed to fly, stay, or drive to earn status with preferred brands. In turn for their brand loyalty, travelers reaped free upgrades and other perks that made business travel all the more enjoyable. After all, surveys show that frequent business travelers consider reward program status a benefit to spending so much time on the road. So how will loyalty programs adapt to changing traveler demands and decreased travel levels? And how can companies ensure their travelers are happy, their programs are optimized, and their contracts are favorable? Read below to find out more.

Loyalty Today

The structure of loyalty programs is based on pre-pandemic behaviors, which are, at least temporarily, no longer the norm. The business travel landscape of today is very different from just a year and a half ago. Many companies still have travel paused, are only traveling by car, or are only permitting the most essential of business trips. However, vaccines worldwide are ramping up and many countries are loosening entry restrictions, leading to promising upticks in business travel. While the dust settles in the aftermath of the pandemic, corporate travel programs are being restructured, revamped, and rethought. Loyalty programs will be pushed to change and providers will work to understand and harness post-pandemic loyalty.

Winning Back the Business Traveler

In a sea of new options, emerging trends, and increased negotiating power for organizations, airlines, hotels, and car rental providers are evolving to keep clients and travelers happy while building continued program loyalty. Business travel is important to airlines, hotels, and car rental companies and loyalty programs will focus on winning back the business traveler (a valuable asset in rebuilding operations and revenue in 2021 and beyond). Companies are poised to benefit from interesting opportunities to renegotiate contract commitments and maximize their program’s potential.

It’s important to note that booking through your travel management company still provides the traveler with all the points, perks, miles, and status associated with the brand’s loyalty program while ensuring the organization maximizes travel spend and understands program data.

What to Expect as We Move Toward Recovery

  • Decreased contractual volume commitments
  • More value in non-flight based activities (branded credit card spending, etc.)
  • Increased negotiating power and greater leverage as brands work to gain business travel
  • Shift to accommodate the desires of business travelers in 2021 and beyond
  • More investment in innovative, digital features and services that business travelers want

The Time to Renegotiate Is Now

Now more than ever, brands are looking to encourage travel, boost business relationships, and accommodate corporate clients. It’s time to take a deep dive into your program contracts and ensure your program is optimized for the current travel landscape (and needs of your travelers).
ADTRAV is working with our clients and their preferred brands to renegotiate and meet the demands of business travel today. With over 100 years of combined experience in supporting corporate and government travel programs, our client consulting team is well versed in the art of negotiation.
If your corporate travel program is in need of industry experts to lead and manage with a consultative and collaborative approach, ADTRAV can help. To learn more about our client consulting services, click here

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Looking for more topics on travel management program success? Click here to learn the top four signs your TMC relationship needs a check up.