Brits among the most disloyal tourists in Europe
The days of Club 18-30 are well and truly over as research from Criteo reveals that Gen Z and millennial tourists in the UK are shunning travel loyalty schemes, with those who are signed up often forgetting they’ve even registered.
With sector-wide spend from consumers expected to slow throughout 2019, uptake and engagement with these schemes has never been more important for airlines, hoteliers, trains companies and travel agents (travel retailers).
The 2019 Travel Spending & Loyalty Outlook reveals that only 23% of Brits heading on holiday are part of a loyalty programme, well behind other countries such as the USA (47%) and Australia (36%). Online travel agents (7%) in particular are lagging behind as Brits favour travel trawling for deals and offers.
Travel retailers also face the challenge of engaging younger holidaymakers. In the UK, those aged 15-24 (16%) and 25-34 (17%) are least likely to be part of loyalty schemes, while the former are the least likely to enjoy loyalty programmes (67%).
This group is also the most likely to increase their spending on holidays in 2019 (47%), well ahead of other countries such as Germany (32%), highlighting the need for travel retailers need to make their loyalty programmes appealing to younger generations or risk losing out.
This younger segment of holidaymakers represents a real opportunity for retailers able to get their customer experience offering right as they buck the wider national trend where 56% are expecting their 2019 spending to remain about the same as 2018. While 30% did say they planned to spend more, this was still behind the USA (42%) and Australia (37%).
Pauline Lemaire, industry director – Travel and Classified at Criteo, an advertising platform for the open Internet, said: “Loyalty programmes can be one of the most valuable tools in a travel retailer’s arsenal, but it’s clear that UK operators have some work to do, especially when it comes to younger generations.
“A projected increase in spending by under 25s only highlights this opportunity. The time of Club 18-30 has passed – now it’s about giving young people better personalised offers through technologies such as AI and making loyalty schemes available on apps.”
Other key findings from the report include:
• Young people aren’t engaged on loyalty
- Only 16% of 15 to 24 year-olds in the UK are part of a loyalty programme, the lowest in Europe (joint with Spain)
- Of those, two-thirds (67%) say they often forget they’re registered at all demonstrating the need for engagement on digital platforms through methods such as in-app advertising and retargeting
• The environment is starting to affect travel decisions
- 10% of those planning to reduce their spend said that concerns about carbon emissions were a factor. This was only behind Germany (12%), and well ahead of other European countries (France was third with 4%.)
• The middle market is falling
- 25-34 year olds with children represent the group most expectant to reduce travel spend due to tighter finances. Targeting this customer segment with cost-efficiency loyalty schemes should represent an opportunity for retailers moving forwards if they can be effectively engaged
* The report is based on a survey conducted between May-June 2019 of 8,054 travellers from eight different countries who have booked at least one holiday in the past six months. There were 977 UK respondents.