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Moving Traveler Loyalty From "Utility" To "Good"

Using Ancient Greek Philosophy As A Framework For 21st Century Travel Loyalty

September 21, 2011


  • By Henry H. Harteveldt,
  • Luca S. Paderni
  • with Dave Frankland,
  • Patti Freeman Evans,
  • Amelia Martland,
  • Elizabeth Stark,
  • Benjamin Zeidler,
  • Douglas Roberge

Why Read This Report

The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that there were three levels of friendships: utility, pleasure, and good. The lowest, utility, describes the current state of travel loyalty programs — involvement without engagement. But travelers build loyalty on more than just points and perks. Staff courtesy, information clarity, and operational reliability are part of the mix — areas out of the control of marketing. Lack of insights into members keeps travel loyalty leaders from forging the emotional bond needed to create a "good" member relationship — and it doesn't help that loyalty leaders are increasingly focused on financial topics rather than marketing. To propel travel loyalty programs toward "good" will require audacious action. Among the steps that loyalty leaders will need to take: creating a more comprehensive view of members' profitability and linking spending along with frequency to "elite" status benefits.

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Table of Contents

  • Contemporary Travel Loyalty Can Learn From The Greek Philosopher Aristotle
  • Travel Loyalty Programs Are Stuck At The "Utility" Level
  • There Is No Single Cure For The "Utility" Friendship Problem
  • The Loyalty Leader's Challenge: To Build And Manage Programs The Right Way

  • To Reach "Good," Loyalty Programs Will Have To Be Ambitious And Audacious
  • Supplemental Material
  • Related Research Documents