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When Air Canada relaunched its top-tier frequent flyer program as Air Canada Altitude two years ago, it ran a series of focus groups that found customers were looking for greater connections with fellow flyers and recognition for their many trips.
To meet these desires, the carrier introduced an exclusive content and gamification platform, the Air Canada Altitude Community, late last month. Frequent flyers can create or read lists outlining the top activities in a destination and they receive points and awards for earning “Likes” on their content.
In the five days since launch, approximately eight percent of the frequent flyer community has signed up and navigated the site. They’ve also created 300 lists. The airline’s goal is to have 20 percent of the base sign up within the first year.
There will be advertising on the site geared toward these top-tier frequent flyers who tend to have higher incomes and education and spend more on leisure travel than less-frequent flyers.
Despite rewards such as exclusive destination dinners and free family trips, it seems unlikely that busy business executives would be interested in earning online badges and creating clickable online content.
Executives from Air Canada and Spafax, which has managed Air Canada’s in-flight magazine, entertainment programming, and marketing initiatives for 18 years, say their research shows otherwise.
“When we tested the gaming concepts with our audience of frequent flyers, I was floored by their engagement,” says Ian Di Tullio, director of loyalty marketing at Air Canada.
Through conversations with customers, Di Tullio found that frequent flyers felt there was a lack of travel relevant content for them. They sought advice from travelers who, like them, often travel for business, are accustomed to certain kind of travel and have few opportunities to enjoy the destinations they visit.