In a recent interview with Dagens Handel, Piotr Kozłowski, Vice President of Consulting for Loyalty Solutions at Comarch, emphasized the growing significance of loyalty programs and bonus memberships, within the travel industry.
With a solid background in the airline industry, often in marketing and sales roles, Piotr Kozłowski clearly sees the importance of bonus schemes and benefits in the travel industry.
When a traveler has to choose between two different airlines, the Frequent Flyer Program (FFP) becomes a significant factor”, says Piotr Kozłowski. "All the research conducted in the last 30–40 years shows that customers love receiving benefits. They feel appreciated for choosing a particular airline, creating a mutual relationship between the airline and the customer.”
Increasing Demand for Personalized Programs
Over the decades since the introduction of bonus schemes, Piotr Kozłowski has noticed changes in customer patterns and demands. As with many other things, today, we want more personalized benefits.
Customers want Frequent Flyer programs to offer more customizable options. Until now, programs have been static – if you flew a certain number of times, you got a certain number of benefits. Now, we are witnessing different expectations. Airlines need to ensure that customers can decide which bonus is the most important to them – perhaps access to a lounge or the ability to choose a seat on the flight. We're moving towards a time when people want more control based on their individual needs.”
AI Can Increase Safety in the Industry
Reports of how artificial intelligence (AI) will impact everything from children's books to car manufacturing have been prevalent recently. Piotr Kozłowski has identified an area where AI can bring significant benefits in terms of loyalty, especially for the airline industry: fraud detection.
Loyalty programs have become a more obvious target for criminals because these accounts now hold more value – today, an airline membership account can be more valuable than a bank account. AI can help us in addressing this problem.”
Piotr Kozłowski explains that the new technology makes it easier and more efficient to identify customer behavior patterns.
We have preventive measures in place to detect abnormal behavior, such as someone taking six flights in one day, but to act, we must first be able to identify those patterns. Now, we are working on AI and machine learning to recognize unusual behavior, allowing us to take action when the pattern is broken. Thus, we don't have to determine whether it's fraud or not; we can identify what fraud might look like and start investigating from there.”
Standing Out in an Industry With Homogeneous Products
Piotr Kozłowski believes that travel companies, in particular, use loyalty schemes to gain a competitive advantage over other companies and distinguish themselves from the competition.
Airlines offer a relatively homogeneous product; the product always looks pretty much the same. However, through a robust loyalty program, an airline can build a closer relationship with its customers, showcase its uniqueness, and increase the likelihood of customers choosing the same airline for their next trip.”
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