As Criteo’s recent “Why We Book” survey* of over 8,000 people around the world shows, the current travel loyalty landscape is complex. For subscribers, satisfaction is high, but there are participation gaps across the map and unrealized opportunities abound, from disenfranchised age groups to vendor types that don’t benefit.
Here’s how different regions stack up on travel loyalty:
Travel loyalty gaps in every world region.
“Loyalty programs” and “brand loyalty” can have different meanings depending on the world region, and the market penetration of travel loyalty programs varies drastically:
- American travelers participate in loyalty programs the most.
- 47% of respondents subscribe to at least one loyalty program in the US. That number drops to 23% for the UK and 19% in Spain.
- Younger Asian travelers are into loyalty programs.
- In APAC, loyalty programs are enjoyed more among the young generation. 84% of people ages 15-34 enjoy them, compared to 79% of those 65+.
- Older European travelers like loyalty programs.
- While loyalty programs are less popular among the younger set (only 16% of those aged 15-34 in the UK participate), loyalty programs have found their audience in the 50-64 age bracket (89% of UK travelers like them, and that number goes up to 92% for Italians travelers).
Provider Variances: Airlines, Hotels, and OTAs
Travelers in APAC, the US, and the UK also subscribe to different types of travel loyalty programs, at different levels of engagement:
- In APAC, airline and OTA loyalty is very important.
- 28% have an airline loyalty membership and 17% have an OTA one (substantially more than the US at 8%).
- In the US, people like hotel loyalty programs.
- Of all regions, the US is the only country with such strong hotel loyalty numbers: 24% of US respondents said they belong to a hotel loyalty program.
- In the UK, travel loyalty lags across providers.
- At the other end of the spectrum, only 10% of respondents in the UK booked a ticket with an airline because they were members of an airline loyalty program, and only 7% booked because they were a member of an OTA loyalty program.
The Global Gen Z Traveler Opportunity
Though the nuances of travel loyalty vary by region, the global Gen Z population has a lot in common. Specifically, a vast percentage of Gen Zers travelers worldwide (those in the 15-24 age bracket) plan to spend more on travel in 2019.
- 58% of Gen Z in the US plans to spend more on travel this year than they did in 2018.
- 49% of Gen Z in APAC plans to spend more on travel this year.
- 47% of Gen Z in the UK plans to spend more on travel this year.
A travel loyalty transformation is ready for takeoff.
Overall, there’s plenty of room to enhance and rethink loyalty programs, no matter your target region or demographic. For starters, identify a gap in your subscriber base (like older generations or younger travelers) and the factors that might motivate them, then think about relevant incentives that will resonate.
Would they rather redeem points for free nights and flights, or gift them to a charitable organization, or combine them toward a group trip with friends? The options are endless, but one thing is clear: Travel loyalty is ripe for a reimagining.
Want more loyalty research? Our “Why We Buy” survey revealed insights into consumer shopping behavior. Download the guide below:
*Source: “Why We Book”, Criteo Travel Study, May-June 2019, N=8154.