Intelligent CXO Issue 6 - Page 51



Building loyalty is critical during times of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the global airline and hospitality sector . Deloitte research has found that at the peak of the lockdown measures , several European countries experienced a staggering 99 % decrease in bookings on popular accommodation sites when compared to 2019 .

Sadly , things are not any better elsewhere in the world . Continued lockdown restrictions are resulting in the closures of many airlines , hotels , restaurants , bed and breakfasts and the list goes on . The focus now moves to how operators can differentiate themselves by adding customer value instead of just trying to sell to them .
One of the central themes around this radically different landscape is how operators can make people feel safe . This has resulted in strict health protocols being enforced on all flights and at all eateries and accommodation venues . More than that , in these times of nocontact , those service providers who have the most engaging ( and customer-centric ) digital environments will be the ones that benefit most . Just think of those restaurants that provide ‘ click and collect ’ services or even started doing their own deliveries for free .
“ But whether it is safety or a seamless online environment , everything points to how important engendering loyalty has become in these difficult times . Brands must do everything in their power to entice regular customers to return and provide much-needed word of mouth to create awareness . These loyal customers are influencers in themselves with their families and friends trusting their experiences and opinions of a particular airline , hotel or restaurant ”, said Frik van der Westhuizen , Marketing Director at LoyaltyPlus .
Unsurprisingly , Customer Relationship Management ( CRM ) solutions will become even more integral to the success of an organisation than before . The role these solutions and systems can play in creating more sophisticated and tailored loyalty programmes cannot be ignored .
Customers want to feel valued . If a brand can convey relevant messages to a regular customer with the potential for discounts or specials customised for that user , then it will start growing its business more effectively .
“ With physical interactions limited , people have become more open to digital marketing than in the pre-pandemic days . Receiving emails and SMS messages have become important touch points when people ’ s travel is limited . It is especially crucial for airlines and those in hospitality to create an emotional connection .
“ The best way to do so is by using CRM and understanding customers on an individual level ”, said Len Lubbe , CEO at leading independent customer relationship management company , LoyaltyPlus .
Not only does leveraging technology make this possible , but it also puts the organisation in control of making loyalty more rewarding for customers , improving engagement and resulting in return business . x www . intelligentcxo . com