According to Boston Consulting Group, women control the finances for approximately 73% of American households, and based on research from Working Mother magazine and Chase Card Services nearly 60% of working mothers manage and control their household expenses alone. Since travel budget is typically set aside as a savings expense out of the family budget, brands need to put moms on their short list for audiences with whom to engage and build loyalty.
Many travel brands rely on transaction-based loyalty programs, such as stacking up airline miles after buying a plane ticket, or awarding a third night free at a hotel after two nights are booked. However, according to a new study we did, brands can motivate moms to engage both online and offline with the help of non-financial incentives – such as elite status or exclusive content. Brands can also use incentives to drive behaviors that lead to additional purchases, rather than focusing on a single transaction.
Here are tips to increase loyalty with the moms who decide where the family jets off to on their next vacation and how to offer rewards beyond the old standby “frequent flier” programs:
1. Learn more about mom and the family
PunchTab’s survey shows that 81% of moms will engage more with a brand when reward opportunities are available, and that brands can use incentives to build a more comprehensive customer database: 59% of moms said they would sign up for regular email updates when a reward is offered, and 41% say they would share personal details and purchase behavior. Provide incentives to reward moms for sharing their email addresses and completing surveys. Learning more about a family size, favorite destinations and activities and the ages of family members will provide brands with the insight needed to deliver well-targeted offers that drive upsell and future purchases.
2. Make moms VIPs
According to our study, getting the VIP treatment can be a strong motivator for moms to engage with a brand. Sixty-seven percent of moms surveyed said they would be interested in receiving perks associated with elite status. While airlines have in-terminal VIP lounges and rental car agencies tout “Gold Clubs,” VIP perks can also extend to free shipping or branded merchandise. If a mom books two adjoining suites, send along a pair of hotel-branded walkie-talkies for the family to use during their stay. If travel gear is purchased online, consider sending it as free two-day shipping to encourage future purchases. Moms also trust other moms, so you can make an ambassador out of your VIP mom by sending her branded merchandise that she can also use at home, such as embroidered towels or an umbrella.
3. Give early access to family vacation sales, and share exclusive content
More than one-third of moms indicate they would value incentives that offered exclusive access to a brand, so reward moms with something that not just anyone can get. Giving moms advanced notice on vacation sales, the first choice of elite rooms or early access to a new destination package can increase loyalty, drive positive word of mouth and show moms how valuable they are to the brand.
Many travel companies also develop vacation-oriented content, such as destination highlights or travel tips and tricks. Providing this content as a reward – for example, in exchange for “Liking” the company on Facebook or becoming a follower of the brand on Twitter – can incentivize purchases and loyalty. When the activity appears in the social stream, you not only increase loyalty with the mom you’re directly engaging with, you’re also reaching others in her network.
4. Help mom help others
According to our study, moms appreciate brands that give back—and help them give back at the same time. Fifty-eight percent of moms say that they would want a brand to make a donation to charity on their behalf as a reward. Develop a campaign that donates to a charity for each purchase made, for each mile flown on the plane or driven in a rental car, and moms will feel like they’re helping others while traveling. Also, be sure to prominently showcase your company’s own charitable efforts on your website to gain additional favorability with the mom demographic.
5. Keep your brand top-of-mind year round
Free products and services from brands are still the most popular incentives for moms, with 83% saying these are effective motivators. Discounts and coupons are also valued by moms, with 60% saying they would take an action in return for a discount or coupon to use on a future purchase. Make travel experiences and activities more tangible by sending gift cards or coupons as a reward for engaging with your brand year round, not just while planning vacations. This approach can also drive more purchases – a $20 dinning credit probably won’t cover a family’s dinner tab, but it does motivate mom to take her family to your new dinner destination.
With incentives, travel brands have an opportunity to better reach the household vacation planners with more relevant and appealing content, and motivate more frequent engagement and greater spend than they previously could. Make moms feel like valuable members of your travel family by thinking beyond a single transaction and traditional loyalty programs.