[Infographic] The future of loyalty programs will be powered by social media

Did you know that over 80% of members of an airline loyalty program never earn enough miles to redeem a flight? And most of the other 20% fly so much that the last thing they want to do is to step on another plane! Do you see why some loyalty program managers are worried?

For airlines, the future of frequent flyer programs programs is now a pressing question, given the growth of social technologies. As such, many airlines are now rushing to find ways of driving social loyalty. Some of these have been covered in our slide-deck on the Top 10 Social Loyalty Initiatives by Airlines.

To dig deeper, we partnered with Cranfield University in the UK to conduct a study on how frequent travelers (who travel at least five times a year) use social media. And here are some highlights of what we found:

  1. There are more airlines on Twitter than there are airlines with frequent flyer programs (191 vs 179)
  2. Almost 90% of frequent flyers use Facebook regularly, and over 65% “Like” at least one airline on Facebook
  3. To frequent fliers cheapest fare is the least significant loyalty factor among customer service, earning loyalty points and onboard experience
  4. 72% of frequent fliers would join a social loyalty program
  5. Over 65% of frequent fliers would like to earn social loyalty points via check-ins or by contributing ideas to an airline’s Facebook page.
  6. Over 80% of frequent fliers would like to earn social loyalty points by recommending the airline to a friend or providing positive feedback.

In the infographic below, we have summarized the findings of the study, and will soon release a detailed presentation of these findings too. Special thanks to Gavin Tan and Prof. Keith Mason from Cranfield University for their tremendous help with this study.

UPDATE: You can find a detailed presentation with some more exclusive insights gleaned from the survey here.


(Click here for a high-resolution image for printing and pinning on your desk)

Do let us know what you thought of this infographic. Does it resonate with you? Is it contrary to expectations? Would you like some other stats covered? If so, which ones? Would you like to suggest ideas for future infographics?

Do speak up 🙂 We’re listening! Leave a comment below or tweet us @simpliflying.

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is the Founder and CEO of SimpliFlying, one of the world’s largest aviation marketing firms working with over 85 aviation clients in the last ten years. Nigam is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior executives globally, from Chile to China. Nigam’s impassioned and honest perspectives on airline marketing have found their way to over 100 leading media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, Reuters and Bloomberg, and into leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He writes a dedicated monthly column in Flight’s Airline Business, challenging the typical assumptions about airline marketing. His new book on airline marketing, SOAR, is an Amazon bestseller that’s shaking up the industry and inspiring other industries to learn from the best airlines. Born in India, raised in Singapore, he now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Toronto.
Shashank Nigam
Shashank Nigam

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  • Pedro David

    i like your infographic

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