Frequent fliers – who’s to blame

A recent article in Travelmole highlights the challenges facing the Frequent Flier program! Airlines are cutting costs and doing away with dormant accounts. While other industries have benefited from borrowing the frequent flier concept (club cards, frequent guests, retail cards, movie clubs to name a few), airlines who originated the ground-breaking idea are bidding goodbye to it!

What made the FF program megapopular with travelers was the prospect of saving money and being rewarded with freebies. Somewhere along the way, the freebies got lesser, redemption got more and more cumbersome and loyalty became a huge expense for companies. Innovation suffered as frequent flier programs began to look alike and sound alike. Perhaps, the issue is not that of dwindling customer loyalty but dwindling customer patience with gimmicks and lack of originality! That’s one more area, like customer service (or lack of) where hotel companies could do well by not emulating their airline counterparts as it can only lead to customer aggravation rather any loyalty the programs were meant to engender.

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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