Driving loyalty to travel brands has been an increasingly difficult challenge during the pandemic. With so little travel for such a long time, affinity for a specific product was bound to fade. However, a company called Arrivia positions itself as having a handle on developing and leveraging loyalty even in the face of these obstacles.
According to Jeff Zotara, chief marketing officer, Arrivia is “a B2B2C company that provides travel loyalty, booking and marketing solutions to consumer-facing companies that want to uncover new revenue streams and drive growth through travel benefits.”
It helps companies increase brand interactions, frequency and sales by providing their customers with more personalized travel options and offers they can't find elsewhere, said Zotara.
Arrivia differentiates itself in only working with closed user groups: very defined memberships, with access to a platform that’s not publicly available. The company was formed in 2020 with the unification of International Cruise & Excursions, SOR Technologies and WMPH Vacations, combining a variety of experiences and skill sets.
With that background, said Zotara, the new entity brings a set of sophisticated tools around alternative currencies, earned points and benefits. Because of the breadth and scale it delivers and because of its ability to market its products effectively, Arrivia is able to enjoy great rates from a variety of suppliers, he added.
Arrivia’s clients may or may not be travel-oriented businesses, but don’t have the capability, technology or desire to create their own booking engines. Among them are financial institutions, insurance firms and resort developers. Arrivia provides the technologies that drives travel bookings, but also services its products with more than 2,500 employees in nine countries. Many are in-house travel advisors who work personally with the end users: travelers.
Clients turn to Arrivia, said Zotara, because travel loyalty is a complicated business to get into. When something happens like an airline cancelling flights, it’s necessary to have the technology and support staff to make sure clients are handled properly. Zotara said Arrivia aims to make experiences as frictionless as possible.
Arrivia’s marketing approach has completely changed as a result of the pandemic as far as the tone it uses, the offers it presents and the timing of those offers, said Zotara. Example: in the past, Arrivia waited for certain holidays to promote its specials. Now consumers are willing to book earlier and will also go to places they may not have considered in the past.
Consumer loyalty is very different from years ago, said Zotara. With everything available in digital format and with millions of outlets, and with privacy an increasingly central issue, marketers have to think about things differently. As a result, Arrivia focuses on zero-party data -- data willingly and voluntarily provided by customers and travelers to help create a better user experience.
Because the clubs and other groups are member-based, Arrivia is able to derive extensive data and preference information provided by customers themselves -- and that helps optimize personalized experiences. The travel product “has to evoke engagement -- and most importantly, be super-convenient,” Zotara said.