Travelocity chases client loyalty with frequent-buyer program
By Nadine Godwin
Travelocity last week rolled out a customer
loyalty plan called the Travelocity VIP Program that offers a package of service perks
and travel discounts to customers who
make five “qualified” bookings within a 12-
Travelocity claimed that it was the first
major online travel agency to offer a customer loyalty program.
In setting up the new frequent-buyer
plan, Travelocity is continuing to aggressively chase the grand prize that has eluded
major Internet retailers: the brand loyalty
of ever-fickle, bargain-hunting, Web-savvy
Along with the Travelocity Reward MasterCard, the Sabre-owned online agency
already has made inroads toward this goal
with its customer service-oriented Travelocity Championship Program, which it
rolled out in May 2005.
For the VIP Program, the five bookings
don’t have to be five trips.
A single air, hotel or car booking counts
for one, but a GoodBuy hotel reservation
counts for two bookings. A cruise or Travelocity Total Trip package counts for three
Enrollment in the program is automatic.
According to Joel Frey, Travelocity’s
manager of public relations, some Travelocity customers are grandfathered in:
Anyone who has already made the five
qualified bookings in the last 12 months is
builds on Travelocity Rewards MasterCard,
which was introduced last month and is itself a kind of loyalty program.
Travelocity’s MasterCard lets cardholders earn Travelocity Points when using the
card for purchases, but the card also lets
them earn double or triple points when
they use the card to pay for certain kinds
of products at Travelocity.
Cardholders can redeem points on any
product for any travel date in the form of
discounts on travel purchases on a sliding
scale: $50 credit for 5,000 points, $100 for
7,500 points, $150 for 12,500 points and
$200 for 15,000 points.
At the top end, 20,000 points can be ex-
changed for a free flight worth up to $400
or $400 off air-hotel packages, hotel stays
or car rentals.
A VIP customer doesn’t have to have the
card to receive other benefits, but the client who combines the two will earn triple
points on more purchases and accumulate
MasterCard rewards faster.
A dedicated customer service line, advance notice
on sales and exclusive
discounts are available to
Travelocity customers who
book five qualified trips in a
We’ve Arrived At Airports.
a program member and has 12 months in
which to make another five bookings and
remain in the program.
He said Travelocity opted for a loyalty
program because, as online agencies have
come close to offering pricing parity, Travelocity wanted to differentiate itself as the
first with a generous loyalty program as
well as specialized customer service.
He said there is no cap on the potential
size of VIP membership. He declined to reveal how many repeat Travelocity customers automatically qualify immediately for
In a statement last week, Travelocity said
it is “committed to providing a new range
of discounts and perks that VIP customers
can actually use.”
Benefits include the following:
• A dedicated customer-service toll-free
line staffed by specially trained agents
• Advance notice of sales plus VIP-only
• Exclusive discounts on a number of
In addition, the VIP benefit package
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