The flighty generation: Are the days of brand loyalty dead?

Do you fly with the same airline, book with a preferred hotel chain or return to the same destination year after year? You could be part of a dying breed.

With so many channels now available to consumers, increased choice and competition, along with the coming of age of a younger, tech-savvy generation devouring content at faster speeds than ever before, is brand loyalty a thing of the past?

Where to?
📷 TripAdvisor

Reports suggest that the travel industry has less consumer loyalty than any other sector. Not surprising given the availability of no-frills airlines and budget accommodation options. In an age when we’re educated to find the best deals, even on premium stays and trips.

This has not always been the case. As anyone born between 1945 and 1980 can confirm, growing up and having families during the boom years of customer loyalty programmes.

The American Airlines ‘AAdvantage’ frequent flyer programme (launched in 1981) is generally credited with being the first loyalty programme of the modern age. Other airlines and then retailers followed suit, with card-based loyalty schemes coming into their own by the 1990s.

Say yes to adventure
📷 American Airlines

A recent YouGov study found that more than three quarters of British adults are members of at least one loyalty programme. But membership decreases with age. Baby Boomers (born between the mid-40s and mid-60s) and Generation X (born between the mid-60s and early 80s) are most likely to be signed up to a loyalty scheme in some shape or form.

Generation Z (born between the mid-90s and mid-00s) is bucking the brand loyalty trend. This younger generation is more likely to choose a brand by its social responsibility and values than loyalty scheme. Speed is of the essence, whether that’s fast technology or quick customer service. And authentic experience is key.

Engaging Generation Z: Marketing to a New Brand of Consumer
📷 Adweek

So, what does the future of customer loyalty look like?

Technology is likely to be at the heart of any future loyalty programmes. Artificial Intelligence and machines learning from exposure to their human counterparts, whether that’s Alexas listening in or Google and Facebook adapting ads based on past searches and conversations had on mobile phones.

We’re already minimising human interactions, turning to chatbots for speedy responses to queries when browsing and shopping online. It’s not a giant leap to expect to have digital platforms available for customers to redeem their rewards anytime, anywhere, through any device.

Travel bots increase user engagement and retain customers
📷 House of Bots

What about brand loyalty when it comes to buying travel insurance? With so many companies, policies and comparison sites to choose from, how do consumers choose an insurance provider?  Even trying to decide between annual multi-trip or single trip policies can be a minefield. We’ve put together some of our most frequently asked questions to help you choose the right policy for you.

Wherever your travels are set to take you, make sure you’re covered. Contact us for more details and a no-obligation quote.

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