If your business is considering adding travel rewards to your customized loyalty program, it pays to choose your B2B travel solutions partner wisely. With the global B2B travel market valued at nearly $19B USD in 2022 and projected to experience double-digit growth between now and 2028, the options are nearly without limits. Will you select a global name, a niche provider, or an innovative partner right-sized to meet your business needs?
Your selection of a B2B travel solutions provider is a strategic decision that can impact many aspects of your customized loyalty program, from operational efficiency and customer experience to its scalability and long-term success. The right provider can help your program move in the right direction in all of these aspects. Some of the factors you’ll need to consider include the provider’s travel technology, ability to customize their offerings, and the scope of their customer support. In this article, we’ll discuss the capabilities and travel technology solutions you should explore in order to make an informed decision.
Technology: The backbone of efficient travel solutions
Advanced technology is essential in creating seamless, personalized travel experiences and streamlining operations for travel solutions. For instance, user-friendly online booking platforms and mobile apps allow travelers to easily search for and book flights, hotels, rental cars, and other services. This streamlines the booking process and provides instant confirmation. In terms of loyalty program management, collaboration tools facilitate proactive communication, making it possible for airlines, hotels, transportation providers, and other travel providers to share information accurately and efficiently and offer seamless travel experiences for travelers, even in high-volume periods.
As you explore B2B travel solutions providers, here are some key travel technology features to look for:
- Seamless integration with existing systems — Smooth and efficient integration with your program's current infrastructure is the cornerstone for quality in so many aspects of your B2B travel solution, from enhancing operational efficiency, supporting accurate data-driven decision-making and retaining customers to simply ensuring disruptions and downtime are minimized.
- User-friendly interface for easy navigation — This is crucial for creating seamless travel experiences, reducing support costs, and fostering broader customer adoption. Having a simple, intuitive interface also helps ensure that your program is accessible and valuable to loyalty program members across diverse backgrounds and skill levels.
- AI and machine learning capabilities — These technologies enable travel solutions to understand, adapt, and respond to individual user preferences to create personalized travel experiences.
- Robust analytics and reporting tools for data-driven decision making — Having the means to analyze, visualize, and derive actionable insights from your data is at the core of your ability to make informed decisions that can positively impact your program’s outcomes and overall success.
- Loyalty program management — Having access to travel technology that enables your program to segment customers based on profile or itinerary attributes, provide custom shopping and booking journeys with different messaging options, and dynamically package vacation bundles can simplify management and at the same time, help it grow.
Customization options: Tailoring solutions to meet business goals
Customizable loyalty programs offer flexibility and tailored experiences that can better meet the diverse needs and preferences of customers—and that’s key for customer satisfaction. When customers can choose from a variety of rewards or benefits that align with their interests, they are more likely to be excited about their travel experience, and feel valued by the loyalty program provider. If they’re having a great time, they’re also likely to spend more, and share their great experiences with others. All of this can lead to more active participation in the loyalty program, and higher member engagement.
B2B travel solutions providers understand that a customizable loyalty program sets businesses apart from competitors that only have a standard, one-size-fits-all program. Providers can support customization efforts in many ways by offering:
- Flexible redemption options, allowing clients to choose from a range of options, such as travel vouchers, meeting room upgrades, airport lounge access, or even company-specific rewards.
- Tiered loyalty programs, enabling loyalty program members to earn more significant rewards as they increase their business with the business. This encourages clients to consolidate their travel arrangements and incentivizes long-term partnerships.
- Personalized travel packages, which can include specific services, amenities, and preferences desired by the client's customers.
- Exclusive partner deals and promotions, which expands the range of rewards available to clients and provides additional customization options within the loyalty program.
- Ongoing customization through data analytics and reporting, which allows clients to gain insights into the travel behavior and preferences of their loyalty program members. This data can be used to identify patterns, anticipate needs, and tailor loyalty programs to better meet the needs of program members.
All in all, customizable loyalty programs create a positive customer experience, fostering a sense of loyalty and encouraging customers to become advocates for the business. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend the business to others, contributing to business goals and organic growth.
Customer support: A crucial aspect of the partnership
Strong B2B relationships are built on trust and proactive communication. Customer support serves as a vital touchpoint for fostering these relationships by providing continuous assistance for the business’s unique and evolving needs, ensuring smooth operations, and demonstrating a commitment to their success.
With the inclusion of 24/7 customer support and dedicated account managers, clients receive highly responsive assistance, which fosters a sense of reliability and trust. Customer support teams that understand the intricacies of their clients' operations can provide insights and assistance to optimize processes, contributing to overall operational efficiency. This includes guidance on loyalty program customization, strategic planning, and ongoing support.
And, in the complicated environment of B2B relationships, though issues and challenges are inevitable, effective customer support is crucial for swift and satisfactory issue resolution. Clients rely on dedicated account managers for proactive communication that helps minimize disruptions to operations. By offering flexibility, personalization, and strategic support, B2B travel solution providers enable their clients to simplify loyalty program management, fostering long-term partnerships and satisfaction.
Research and reputation: Making an informed decision
Selecting the best B2B travel solutions provider for your business hinges on thorough research and an assessment of reputation and track record. Your comprehensive research should include evaluating the features, services, and capabilities offered to ensure alignment with your specific loyalty program needs. To assess the reputation and track record of potential providers, you can examine customer reviews, testimonials, and case studies for insights into the experiences of other businesses.
Be sure to consider partnership flexibility and industry experience as well. Established partnerships and a robust industry experience track record demonstrate a provider's reliability and expertise, which may boost your confidence in their ability to deliver effective and tailored solutions.
In addition, the provider's flexibility and scalability for business growth are essential attributes. Ask how potential B2B travel solutions providers plan to adapt to the expansion and changing demands of your business and loyalty program. By researching B2B travel solutions providers with these factors in mind, you position your business to make a well-informed decision and create the foundation for a successful partnership.
Long-term partnership: Adapting to evolving needs
Given the dynamic nature of business needs, cultivating a long-term partnership with a B2B travel solutions provider can create several advantages for your business:
- Smooth operations and better performance — a long-standing partnership allows for a deeper understanding of the intricacies and evolving requirements of your customized loyalty program.
- Higher customer engagement —With ever-increasing knowledge of your program and your customers, the travel solutions provider can tailor services to meet specific customer expectations for satisfying and seamless travel experiences.
- Cost efficiencies — As your B2B travel solutions provider becomes more familiar with your program, they may be able to identify opportunities for increased cost efficiency.
- Stability and predictability — A long-term relationship for your customized loyalty program can offer stability and predictability which allows for better planning, forecasting, and risk management.
And, over time, you’ll have the opportunity to build trust and credibility with your B2B travel solutions provider. This trust is fundamental to a good working relationship that facilitates performance and rapid issue resolution for your customized loyalty program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to common questions about researching B2B travel solutions providers:
- Is it better to choose a large B2B travel solutions provider than a small one?
- How are AI and machine learning capabilities being used in B2B travel solutions?
- How do tiered loyalty programs work?
- Do B2B travel solution providers offer travel searches and booking in Spanish?
- How long does it take a B2B travel solutions provider to add their offerings to my loyalty program?
That depends on your customized loyalty program needs and business goals. A larger provider may have a more diverse inventory of travel, accommodations and activities, but a smaller provider may be able to provide a higher level of customization. It’s important to identify the “must-haves” for your program, and explore those features in your research.
One of the best examples is the use of AI to narrow the customer’s search to options that are most likely to interest them. There are hundreds of thousands of hotels, flights, activities and more for travelers to choose from, and it can easily become overwhelming. An AI-driven tool can help customers focus on their best options in less time, which creates a better travel planning and booking experience.
These programs offer different levels or tiers of membership, each corresponding to varying degrees of customer engagement or spending. As customers progress through these tiers, they unlock additional benefits and exclusive rewards. The higher the tier, the more valuable the incentives, encouraging increased customer loyalty and engagement with the business. B2B travel solutions providers can automate the management of a tiered loyalty program.
Yes, some providers can integrate an easy-to-use tool that supports multiple languages and currencies. This is another important way your loyalty program can offer personalized travel experiences to your customers.
That depends on the provider you select, and it’s a good question to explore in your research. Some leading providers offer a turnkey solution that is designed to be implemented in a matter of weeks.
In conclusion, the importance of selecting the right B2B travel solutions provider cannot be overstated in the dynamic landscape of the global B2B travel solutions industry. The choice of a provider is a strategic decision that can influence the efficiency, adaptability, and overall success of your customized loyalty program.
A well-chosen provider offers more than just technological solutions; they become a long-term partner, contributing to operational excellence, cost-effectiveness, and the delivery of personalized travel experiences. It’s essential to carefully evaluate and choose a provider that aligns with your objectives and values so you are assured they will continue to provide customized and scalable solutions that evolve with your program’s growth. This strategic partnership sets the stage for collaborative innovation and a critical edge in the highly competitive loyalty program market.
Switchfly is the leader in helping companies offer travel rewards and benefits that customers & employees are excited to use. To discover what’s possible with Switchfly, connect with us today.