If you poll most travel managers today, there exists a common belief that travelers will select the airline that offers them more frequent flyer reward points, even if that means paying an additional $50 or $75 in fare. However, a recent survey of over 2,500 business travelers may calm employer’s fears.

Report finds airlines could do more to keep customers loyal

By Jim Glab of Executive Travel

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A new study of airline passenger behavior and preferences finds that travelers aren’t as loyal to their preferred airlines as they could be — and it suggests that carriers should do more to customize and personalize their interactions with  frequent flyer program members.
The Travel, Hospitality and Leisure division of the consulting firm Deloitte surveyed more than 2,500 U.S. air travelers about their loyalties to specific carriers, and concluded that “perhaps at no time in recent memory is brand loyalty under such duress.”
The survey found that about two-thirds of all the respondents “were at least open to switching to a competing (airline) loyalty program even after achieving highest status level,” Deloitte said.
It noted that high-frequency business travelers stood out from the crowd (which also included high-frequency leisure travelers and low-frequency business and leisure travelers) by placing much more importance on an airline’s loyalty program — rating it even more significant to them than safety considerations.

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