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83% of Indian card users want travel rewards, personalised experiences

Collinson's Report on what keeps customers engaged and loyal to brands across Asia Pacific finds that Indian consumers seek hyper-personalised, elevated experiences

Airport lounge

Airport lounge

BS Web Team New Delhi

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The use of payment cards while travelling with the expectation of earning and redeeming points to unlock special rewards and benefits is a growing trend observed among Indian travellers.

Collinson, a global provider of airport experiences, loyalty, and customer engagement solutions, has released its comprehensive research report titled "The New Rules of Engagement: Customer Expectations Revealed" for the Asia Pacific region. The report, based on insights from 4,750 respondents across ten markets in Asia Pacific, sheds light on evolving consumer expectations in the "Customer Experience Era".

This report found that a significant 76 per cent of Asia Pacific consumers believe that the experiences provided by brands are equally essential as the products or services they offer. Consumers are forming the new "C-suite," and they now seek hyper-personalised communication (74 per cent), anticipatory services (67 per cent), and emotional connections (68 per cent) with their preferred brands, making customer experience a top priority.

Preference towards payment cards

When it comes to travel, the report found that four out of five consumers in Asia Pacific are more likely to use payment cards that offer travel-related rewards or benefits for their travel expenses. India at 83 per cent showed the highest inclination towards such cards in the Asia Pacific region after Malaysia at 84 per cent. Other countries with a high inclination towards cards include Vietnam (82 per cent), Thailand (81 per cent), Mainland China, and Hong Kong SAR (both 80 per cent).

Moreover, programmes offering the ability to redeem travel-related rewards and benefits are also highly appealing to nine out of ten consumers. This was especially observed in Vietnam at 97 per cent, followed by Malaysia at 94 per cent, Thailand at 94 per cent, India at 90 per cent, and China at 89 per cent.

Travel-related rewards

Travel-related rewards and benefits have become a significant opportunity for financial service brands to drive commercial success. As global travel resumes, Indian consumers rank airport lounge access as a highly desirable travel-related reward. This is followed by access to airport transit hotels and airport parking, respectively.

Access to airport lounges made Indian travelers feel more valued (59 per cent), and rewarded (57 per cent) and built a sense of loyalty to the brand (54 per cent).

The report also found that particularly those travellers who took ten or more trips per year valued experiences over financial rewards. They were also members of twice as many customer engagement and loyalty programmes compared to less frequent travellers and were three times more likely to engage with digital and ESG-linked rewards and benefits.

Indian consumers also showed a preference for digital engagement with brands through mobile apps (66 per cent), email (54 per cent), website (51 per cent), and social media (48 per cent).

Age-wise preferences

Across Asia Pacific travellers, there was also a notable difference between different generations and their preferences when it came to the type of rewards and benefits they found most appealing.

While Millennials, Gen X and Boomers all ranked "access to airport lounge" as the most desirable travel benefit, Gen Z ranked it second after "access to airport transit hotels", which was ranked second by the older generations.

The younger two, Gen Z and Millennials preferred "access to gaming lounge" over 'complimentary food & beverages in airports" and airport parking, ranking it the third most desirable reward. Gen X placed "complimentary food & beverages in airports" third, and Boomers prefered airport parking in Asia Pacific.

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First Published: Jul 27 2023 | 5:29 PM IST

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