Loyalty's Travel Renaissance: 2002 Has Seen the Resurgence of Loyalty Schemes. Daniel Rogers Explores Why Retailers Are Keen to Use Travel and Leisure as a Key Incentive to Win over Customers
Rogers, Daniel, Marketing
Loyalty has once again become a marketing buzzword, following a golden era in the mid-90s. Today's schemes are offering rewards in travel and leisure, but will these incentives be enough to restore the popularity of the loyalty card?
In the past four weeks, loyalty has been big news: Marks & Spencer announced plans to launch its first ever loyalty scheme; Tesco seized the Air Miles rewards brand from Sainsbury's; and Sainsbury's began talks with the Air Miles co-founder Keith Mills to launch a new scheme backed by a [pounds sterling]20m consumer marketing drive. Today (Wednesday), Somerfield announces a scheme, called Saver-card, that offers cash instead of points.
There is even talk of a groundbreaking loyalty scheme collaboration between Sainsbury's, Boots and Marks & Spencer, in an attempt to match the might of Tesco's loyalty programme.
This is the resurgence of a marketing tool that has experienced highs and lows since it emerged in the 80s. Research at the 1996 Marketing Forum revealed that 56% of senior marketers planned to spend considerably more on loyalty schemes in 1997 than the previous year.
But as consumers' wallets began to bulge with an array of largely unused plastic, marketers became more sceptical. New concepts such as focus groups, brand experience and the internet replaced loyalty schemes.
In May 2000, Safeway axed the ABC loyalty card -- the third best-known scheme in 1997, according to Carlson Loyalty Monitor. The decision signalled a nadir in the industry's confidence in the loyalty concept.
So what has triggered 2002's renaissance in loyalty schemes? A significant focus on travel and leisure appears to be the emotional key.
Tesco is rubbing its hands with glee at getting Air Miles. Sources reveal that competing and similarly high-profile travel incentives …
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Publication information: Article title: Loyalty's Travel Renaissance: 2002 Has Seen the Resurgence of Loyalty Schemes. Daniel Rogers Explores Why Retailers Are Keen to Use Travel and Leisure as a Key Incentive to Win over Customers. Contributors: Rogers, Daniel - Author. Magazine title: Marketing. Publication date: January 31, 2002. Page number: 20+. © 2003 Haymarket Business Publications Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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