Virgin Atlantic’s Vtravelled gets into social gaming – Interview with Lysette Gauna

There has been a lot of ruckus about the relevance of loyalty programs lately, where many frequent fliers have been disgruntled by their respective programs. Part of the problem is also that airline loyalty programs have never been fun – they’re only about earning and burning miles. But that may change, if Virgin Atlantic has its way.

Let’s Play, and earn miles, says Virgin

Virgin Atlantic recently announced plans to re-launch  its social travel community site,, with a strategy focused on rewarding their frequent flyers using gaming mechanics.

As  one  of the first airlines to launch their own online community, Virgin Atlantic  will  partner with social gaming experts Lithium, as they plan to engage  with  their  1.8  million  Flying  Club  members.  The airline will introduce  the  ability  to  earn  real  currency  in  the form of miles in addition to the more usual virtual rewards. The  plan  is  to  take  the  fundamental  thinking  and technology behind social gaming and develop it to allow  loyal customers and Flying Club members to be rewarded for their contributions.

Lysette Gauna, Creative Director at Virgin Atlantic and one of the key people behind this initiative was kind enough to be interviewed over this new development, and has revealed some exciting details in this interview that you’ll find below.

Will social gaming and frequent fliers make good bed mates?

So, now that you’ve heard Lysette’s plans with the site, do you think infusing social gaming would work? I’m sure Virgin Atlantic would drive new sign-ups for its frequent flier program, by tapping into the social gamers. There will also be a certain percentage of its existing fliers who may engage with the airline through the site, but I wouldn’t expect that number to be significant.

So, then, it seems more of a customer acquisition effort, than engaging and deriving more value from existing frequent fliers. And I’d give full credit to the Virgin Atlantic team to be the first airline to dive into social gaming at such scale.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear whether you think this would work. Would you be keen on flying Virgin Atlantic more often because of this? Let’s hear it in the comments, and over on Twitter (@simpliflying).

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying and a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought-leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior aviation executives globally, from Chile to Canada and from Sydney to San Francisco. Shashank's perspectives have found their way into major media outlets, including CNN Travel, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg UTV, Mashable and in leading publications like Airline Business, ATW, Aviation Week, and others. Shashank studied Information Systems Management and Business Management at Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hailing from India, he splits his time between Singapore and Vancouver, among other cities.
Shashank Nigam
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  • Anonymous

    Airlines have used creative tactics before to attract new customers. I think that social gaming is worth a try. What have they got to lose? If this idea takes off (pun intended) they could be setting a new industry standard.

  • Reply

    I certainly liked the way you explore your experience and knowledge of the subject! Keep up on it. Thanks for the insights!

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