My carrier of choice for air travel is Alaska Airlines. Like the rest of the airline industry, it has a rewards program — its honorees are called “MVPs” and “MVP Golds.” This year, for the first time ever, I got to the highest level with the program (although, the real perks kick in next year — 2008). I am now in the elite group of Alaska customers and it actually feels really good.
In fact, it feels so good, that I brought the program up with my sales and marketing team this summer and suggested that LCT duplicate the idea for our own clients. So in the very near future, our top clients will receive a letter and brochure from us on what we ingeniously named, the “MVP Program.”
I know some services, such as Concorde Limousine, based in Freehold, N.J., have already established rewards programs based on a frequent rider methodology.
Here is what LCT is doing:
1. Ranking system for clients — We award a percentage point for every dollar spent with LCT for the last year. We deduct points for poor payment history as well, since it is so costly to manage A/Rs. (Also, this zeroes out each year, so next year we will start fresh). We give a FULL point for years of business we have with this client. Loyalty goes a long way with LCT. (In your case, you might also reward clients who send you referrals.)
2. Rewards for clients — We contacted all host hotels that we work with for shows and asked for special concessions, including room upgrades, spa privileges, early check in service, express luggage service, free breakfasts, and more. It was truly amazing what these facilities came back with!
You can do the same by simply talking to your strategic alliances, including hotels and restaurants. Also, at a brainstorming session our customers gave us great ideas, such as express exhibitor badge check-in and so on! Nothing is costing us money either, and the list of upgrades is impressive — to say the least.
3. Tiered program — We wanted to include as many clients as possible without diluting our amenities. We created the “MVP GOLD” (wonder where that idea came from, hmmm…) for our Top 10 accounts that qualified this year. The next 10 accounts will be MVPs and will still enjoy some exciting perks as well, just not quite as many of them as their GOLD counterparts. This is a very simple idea to implement and manage.
We expect our topline clients to know that we appreciate them, but being an MVP with us will show them just how much.
Hope this works for you too!