Expedia+ Rewards: An In-Depth Analysis
If you are a frequent traveler, it is likely you have booked your tickets on Expedia.com. Expedia is known for its highly competitive rates on airlines, hotels, rental cars and travel packages. In 2014, they launched the Expedia+ Rewards program. This article presents an in-depth analysis of what Expedia+ Rewards has done well and where they could be better.
WHY IS EXPEDIA+ ATTRACTIVE
Expedia+ Rewards allows travelers to earn points in addition to their other rewards like frequent flyer miles and credit card points. This means travelers can triple dip, which is great!
An additional benefit is that customers can now also earn 2 points per $1 spent on cruise bookings with most major cruise lines. Moreover, current Expedia Rewards members will keep their points and history intact. They will be able to track their progress toward elite status on their Expedia+ rewards page.
The Expedia+ Rewards program is clearly visible on the Expedia main page. It is promoted very prominently.
NEW LOYALTY TIERS
Expedia+ has new loyalty tiers that allow high spenders to receive additional privileges. Free Expedia+ membership automatically gives users +blue status, followed by +silver status after they spend $5,000 on eligible bookings or stay 7 qualifying hotel room nights, and +gold status after they spend $10,000 on eligible bookings or stay 15 qualifying hotel room nights. Loyalty program benefits are divided into three categories.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE
While the Expedia+ program has proved popular, there are two major areas where improvement is needed.
1. Lack Of 360-Degree Engagement
Members earn points only for purchases. In today’s world, it is important to bring a 360-degree engagement model for members. For examples, Expedia could award points for referrals, reviews, birthdays, sharing via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. It could also run promotions like double-point days on special weekends. Points earning opportunities in the Expedia+ program are very limited. This makes the members less likely to engage frequently, unless they were going to make a purchase anyways.
2. Benefits For Higher Tiers Are Not Substantial Enough
The benefits for the higher tiers are not substantial enough for members to try and get to those higher tiers. The only major benefit is a 10% points accelerator for +silver members and a 30% points accelerator for +gold members. Additional benefits such as room upgrades, concierge services, spa discounts, free drinks, dedicated customer service and exclusive travel offers are intangible at best and are not reasons why members will strive to achieve +silver or +gold status.
A smart retention strategy would be where +silver tier gets a 50% points accelerator and +gold tier gets a 100% points accelerator. Additionally, +gold tier should get exclusive discount coupons and other more tangible benefits. This will really make people constantly work hard and spend more to get to higher tiers. Once they have accumulated enough points at Expedia, they are unlikely to shop on another travel site.
EXPEDIA+: A GOOD LOYALTY REWARDS PROGRAM WITH ITS LIMITATIONS
Expedia+ is a good loyalty rewards program which allows travelers to earn points in addition to their frequent flyer miles and their credit card points. Every user should enroll in the loyalty rewards program.
The main limitations of the Expedia+ loyalty rewards program lie in two areas: its inability to engage members in a 360-degree fashion even when they are not planning to make a purchase, and the tier benefits are not substantial enough for members to try hard to get to higher tiers.