Gen Z represents over $40B in spending power and has an outsized influence on household purchasing decisions. Already a powerful customer segment, they’ll soon be the largest population demographic and have the most disposable income. Clearly, when cultivating customers, travel brands need to ensure that loyalty programs keep pace with Gen Z’s evolving technology demands.
In this post, we’ll explore the three most important loyalty needs of younger travelers and how your loyalty program can appeal directly to them.
- Treat Them as Individuals
Growing up in the age of social media, Millennials and Generation Z travelers have come to expect personalized offers that speak to their tastes on a personal level. Rather than lumping them in with new members, treat younger travelers as they prefer to be treated—as individuals. Rather than framing rewards in static terms of miles and points, instead offer them tailor-made travel offers along with customized content and they’ll be more engaged with your brand’s loyalty program.
As Switchfly CEO, Craig Brennan, commented in The New York Times, “As younger generations have demonstrated their willingness to share their personal data to gain access to curated, tailored offerings, using data as the focal point of loyalty program design ensures greater success… Personalization will be a key differentiator for travel brands.”
- Deliver Unique Experiences
Younger generations prefer to spend on experiences instead of material goods, and this translates to the “burning” of loyalty points as well. Experiences in particular are what Gen Z most desires, and they have more tools and suppliers to choose from than ever. They will scour the internet for deals, especially social media, until they find the exact travel offer they want. This trend of experience-based rewards is only growing over time.
Here’s how your loyalty program can offer experiences to capture younger customers’ travel spend:
- • Give younger members an outlet to redeem points for unique experiences. Customer data is the key to discovering the types of tailor-made rewards that will appeal to younger travelers as individuals.
- • Ensure that your loyalty program always offers plenty of local events in cities your youngest customers are most likely to stay in.
- • Given Gen Z’s preference for experiences over material goods, airlines and hotel brands should consider offering unique local experiences such as concerts or tours.
- Allow Flexible Redemption Options
Now that you’ve mastered offering Gen Z travelers unique experiences matching their individual tastes, ensure your program helps them to easily pay for it. Travel brands can improve loyalty engagement among younger travelers by providing more flexible redemption options. Since younger travelers may not have accrued a large number of points or miles yet, allowing them to combine loyalty points with credit card payments helps them redeem points sooner. Enabling “points-plus-cash” gives younger loyalty members a way to engage early and see proof that their loyalty is already delivering value in terms of rewards and perks. Younger travelers have a more reciprocal view of loyalty programs than older members, so they want to see early returns on their brand loyalty.
Innovative Travel Tech Platform Drives Loyalty
By better understanding what younger generations value and expect from travel loyalty programs, travel brands can more effectively engage with them. Switchfly partners with travel brands to offer younger customers individualized and unique experiences with flexible payment options to meet their needs.