Supporting each other in hard times: offer from Currency Alliance
Currency Alliance is offering fee-free exchanges of loyalty currencies, between travel and non-travel brands, for the next six months.
Travel brands are suffering from Covid-19 more than most, with the grounding of aircraft, and very low occupancy for those hotels which have not yet closed.
But there are things we can do to ease the financial stress of those most affected, give customers hope, and proactively manage loyalty program liability.
Currency Alliance operates a B2B SaaS loyalty currency management platform. That makes it remarkably easy for brands to connect and collaborate with each other, reduce operating costs, and increase value for customers.
One popular function of the platform is the ability for brands to enable exchange of loyalty currencies. This allows customers to shift their points to the program that they believe offers the highest perceived value.
For the next six months (until September 30th, 2020), Currency Alliance will allow the exchange of loyalty currencies from non-travel brands to travel loyalty programs for free.
Therefore, customers and non-travel brands can enable loyalty value to be exchanged to popular airline and hospitality loyalty programs, in a way that maximizes value for all stakeholders.
This increases value in the following ways:
- For non-travel brands, it removes a portion of the liability of their loyalty points in circulation, at a cost below the estimated cost of redemption – thereby improving the balance sheet.
- Customers become able to increase their points balance in aspirational travel loyalty programs and begin dreaming about future trips, rather than concentrating only on the current Covid-19 health issues.
- Travel brands receive desperately needed cash to fund the new loyalty points/miles issued in the exchange – which props up their business when they have few other tools to generate income at their disposal.
We normally charge a 2% fee on these exchanges – a tiny fee that doesn’t infringe on value that should be used to motivate and reward loyal customers.
But we want to remove every last bit of friction for brands in a time of need.
Together, we can show solidarity between industries at a time when some are suffering much more than others – while helping the hotels and airlines stay in business so they can serve everyone’s travel needs when the global and regional situation returns to a new type of normal.
While few people are traveling, they continue to buy diapers, food, beverages, gas, and use financial services products – so many of these industries have not seen a drop in sales. Now is the time when complementary industries should help each other in a way that will benefit all of us in both the short-term and the long term.
Currency Alliance already has integrations with dozens of travel loyalty programs.
Any new travel brands that want to participate in this exchange offer can benefit from a free integration from the Currency Alliance platform to their primary loyalty program management system – so that we can inject new accrual transactions into the host system.
Each of these integrations normally takes two to three days’ effort from Currency Alliance and only about two to three hours from the travel brand (to provide credentials and test the accuracy of the integration).
The Currency Alliance Management Portal will also be made available for free, so that each partner has full visibility and absolute control over their partners, the value of their points and miles, and their fraud protection mechanisms.
This screenshot shows simple the loyalty currency exchange feature is.
For non-travel brands
For the non-travel brands that would like to participate, there are two methods of setting up such an exchange out of their loyalty currency:
1. Create a screen on at least one of their customer-facing platforms
…where the customer can:
- see their points balance
- see a list of programs they can exchange into
- see in real-time how many points or miles they would get in the other program
- choose a number of points to exchange and carry out the transaction
Currency Alliance then completes the exchange in real time.
To enable this, the Content Management System serving the customer-facing platform will need to integrate with the Currency Alliance API.
Setting up an account on CurrencyAlliance.com takes about 10 minutes. Completing the integration takes between three hours and three days, depending on the complexity of the loyalty system being connected. It then takes about a day of development to add the exchange screen functionality for customers to complete the process.
Therefore, in about one week, this new service could be up and running.
2.The batch file method
The second option can enable varying methods by which your customers can inform you how many points they want to exchange, into which program, and then you can send a batch file to Currency Alliance for downstream processing.
The methods of capturing the customer’s exchange intent could be through the customer service team at the store level, a call center, creating a widget on websites, etc.
All documentation is available on the Currency Alliance website, but our team would also be more than happy to provide a demo and provide technical support. You can register for free here, or contact us for more information.
Marketing your new partnerships
To get maximum brand exposure from your new partnerships, we recommend that you implement a comms plan for existing customers, i.e. by posting banners on their digital channels, using newsletters, and eliciting media coverage from news organizations.
Experience suggests that when two brands begin enabling loyalty currency exchange, each brand will receive an uplift of 5-15% in new loyalty program registrations, as well as a higher share of wallet from existing participants.
Of course, the participating travel brands will also use their existing communications channels to promote the collaboration – which will drive new business to those enabling exchanges with their loyalty currency.
The fine print
This promotion waives the exchange fee through September 30th 2020. After that date, the usual Currency Alliance fee is only 2% of the value of loyalty points transacted on the platform. There are no monthly minimum fees, maintenance costs, or license fees – so partners would benefit from low operating costs indefinitely while also driving deeper engagement with frequent customers.
More importantly, the exchange capability will engage less frequent customers and motivate them to join the loyalty program in the first place, and shift share-of-wallet well into the future.
It bears considering that there are over $500bn worth of loyalty points in circulation in the world. About half of that value is held by mid-tail and longer-tail members, with modest numbers of points or miles spread across dozens of programs.
Enabling them to sweep those points into one aspirational travel program can clean up a lot of liability on the balance sheet, and create perceived value where there is little today.
If even a few percent of that amount could be used to save travel brands, that would be very rewarding for everyone.
Get started, or find out more
Registration is free and fast on the CurrencyAlliance.com website, so have a look around the platform.
If you are a travel brand and not sure if you want to proceed, the first step would be to consider the top 5-10 non-travel loyalty programs in your market. These may exist at banks, supermarket chains, fuel and C-store retailers, online or offline clothing retailers, as well as specialty retailers.
If you operate a non-travel business and would like to participate, think of the top two or three airlines and three to five hotel groups serving your market(s).
You may contact the head of marketing at these other brands to explore their interest in collaborating, or you can contact Currency Alliance directly and we probably already know who to speak with.