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‘WorldMiles offers the consumer – power of consolidation’

Loylty Rewardz is presently running the world’s largest debit card loyalty programme for SBI customers. Bijaei Jayaraj, Chief Executive Officer, Loylty Rewardz Management Pvt Ltd talks to Yashodhan Jadhav on India’s first airline independent frequent flyer programme - Deutshce Bank’s WorldMiles Credit Card

Wednesday, September 29, 2010, 14:00 Hrs  [IST]

bijaei_jayaraj.jpg

Q. How are loyalty programmes performing in the Indian market and their scope of business?
A.
The concept of Consumer Loyalty and Relationship Management commonly known as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and the likes essentially involves building a strong relationship with the consumer; based on the programme, scheme and frequency. Operating Loyalty programs is a matured and advanced exercise in western markets contrary to the case in India. Barring a few players in this space the loyalty program business is poised for rapid growth in India.

If we were to make a pyramid of Consumer Loyalty as an industry space, typically the apex of this pyramid would be occupied by the airline industry’s frequent flyer programmes (FFP). The concept of ‘loyalty’ as a business started with airlines introducing these programmes in the 1980s. The second slot is closely followed by the hotel industry, retail and banking sectors. Although Consumer Loyalty Programmes have been in existence for a while in India only a small number of business are operating them.

Loyalty programmes are linked with the transactions, both through credit and/or debit cards. Credit cards too have been rewarding their customers on purchase through points, but these ‘reward points’ often are not too significant. Loyalty Programmes have become sophisticated and we’ve been instrumental in developing and operating loyalty programmes for various companies in order to create profitability for our clients.

Q. What makes WorldMiles a unique travel proposition and how is it different from other loyalty programmes?
A.
Deutshce Bank’s WorldMiles Credit Card is an airline independent frequent flyer programme and the first-of-its-kind in India. Currently, it is one of the most robust and rewarding travel reward proposition. Typically a FFP allots miles to airline travellers based on parameters such as Ticketed Point Mileage (TPM) and normally each airline has a FFP of its own brand. A passenger is only entitled to derive benefits of a specific FFP and not rewarded any loyalty ‘miles’ if they choose to fly an airline without enrolling on its FFP.

WorldMiles is essentially a combination of various products which gives the consumer the power of consolidation as opposed to having multiple FFP/loyalty programme memberships. Moreover traditional FFPs are individual/member specific and do not pass on the rewards to other passengers accompanying the FFP patron. The WorldMiles membership account details are created and hinged on to the card and not the individual. Hence the user accumulates loyalty miles on every credit card transaction irrespective of the service/product in concern.

top_290910_1.jpgQ. How easy/flexible is it for the consumer to redeem points?
A
. Conventional Loyalty Programmes allow consumers to redeem points once their loyalty miles reach a particular milestone. Airlines generally earmark certain seats for redemption, but even FFP patrons can be declined a free/redeemed seat at times due to capacity control or overbooking protocols put in place. The FFP passenger might feel that he/she earned the loyalty points and the reward needs to follow; however there is little that can be done to avert such crisis but to decline the due reward to the consumer.

In contrast the WorldMiles proposition to the consumer is lot stronger than conventional FFPs and if there is a seat available in the market, the passenger generally gets it with certainty. The so called ‘free’ redeemed airline tickets often impose hidden charges on passengers who land up paying a minor amount for the ticket, on the contrary WorldMiles assures its consumers the opportunity to redeem a 100 per cent free ticket with the airline of choice.

Q. How strong is the Loylty Rewardz network with trade partners to ensure seamless service to consumers?
A. 
The focus of loyalty business lies in the fact that business grows from loyal consumers who not only revisit the brand but bring more business by consistently recommending the brand to their acquaintances. WorldMiles primarily encompasses Flight, Taxi, Hotel (FTH) segment through the network we’ve established with travel and hospitality agents. To put things in perspective we work closely with FTH service consolidators which give us access to every segment of the market.

 
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