THE FREQUENT FLYER

For business travel, loyalty schemes are more important than ever飛行常客獎勵計劃對商務旅客顯得格外重要

SilkRoad - - CONTENTS 目錄 - WORDS 撰文ANONYMOUS GLOBAL NOMAD

Our columnist on the growing importance of loyalty programmes 飛行常客 本刊專欄作家探討飛行常客獎勵計劃為何愈來愈重要

ONE OF THE most rewarding aspects of my career has been the glamour of business travel: gliding through airports, sitting back in the lounges, lying back on inflight beds, arriving in impossibly cool places, all with the glow of being treated like a star.

Sadly, upwardly mobile 21-year-olds now don’t quite get the same treatment; in fact, most of us don’t. This is for two primary reasons. First, the almost ubiquitous tightening of corporate belts and the related exposés of shameful financial waste of its chief protagonists has led to a general downgrading of travel and its perks. Almost all firms force their staff to fly economy for flights under four hours, and there are strict budgets for accommodation.

Second, while most of us joined a large corporate or a professional services brand name out of university, joining a startup has become just as appealing for graduates, with technology the major driver of such moves. This has a set of benefits but travel isn’t one of them. Apart from their cost restrictions, small companies cannot easily command preferential fares through procurement negotiations with travel companies, rendering it even less likely that employees will be able to experience the glamour of yesteryear.

This all makes loyalty programmes more important than they ever used to be. In the past, they were a nice-to-have but now they are core. For most business travel, airline or hotel loyalty programme status is the only way you’re going to speed through the airport (through fast track), the only way you’re going to experience the lounge, the only way you’re going to priority board and the only way you’re going to experience a great suite (through a status upgrade) or treat yourself to a discounted stay at a luxury hotel. It’s also an important employee morale tool: if you can buy first class tickets for a holiday on miles and stay in a villa in the Maldives on points, the horrible grind of work economy travel can seem worth it.

These changes in the travelling landscape and the burden it places on loyalty schemes puts particular pressure on airlines and hotels to up their game with their programmes.

A good example is Cathay Pacific’s new Business Plus programme, designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses earn rewards when their employees fly. For companies of this size, with employees flying regularly, it’s a no-brainer to sign up: the company and individuals get benefits with absolutely no risk.

But loyalty programmes are clearly equally important for the airlines and hotels themselves, creating customer attachment to the business and its brand. I can definitively vouch for this based on my travel habits over many decades. And using points to upgrade to business class or a large hotel suite has the benefit of letting a customer aspire – to how business travel used to be.

Safe travels and see you next time. Send your thoughts to [email protected]

能夠享受商務旅遊的排場是我工作的一大得著:我可以穿梭各大機場、安坐貴賓室、躺於機上的床鋪、到訪型格有趣的地方;總之有如被捧到天上的明星。

只可惜,在職場上力爭上游的年輕人無法再享同等待遇,事實上,我們這一輩大多 風光不再。主因有二:首先,幾乎各大企業都勒緊褲頭,高層被揭發花錢如流水,所以差旅開支與相關補貼一律縮減。大部分公司更下令,若員工乘搭航程低於四小時的航班,只可選乘經濟艙,住宿亦必須遵守嚴格的預算限額。另外,雖然大學畢業生大多選擇投身大企業或專業服務品牌,但以科研創新為主的初創企業,吸引力亦不相伯仲。這些公司的待遇及福利自有過人之處,但卻不包括公幹。除成本所限外,小公司與旅行社洽談採購條款時,難以爭取到優惠價格,亦令員工更難享受往日的排場。如是者,飛行常客獎勵計劃變得格外重要。過往這類計劃只屬錦上添花,現在卻不可或缺。大部分商務旅遊、航空公司或酒店推出的會員計劃,在提供特快通道辦理登機手續時,只考慮會員的會籍級別,也只有高級會員才可進入貴賓室、優先登機,並透過升級入住頂級套房,或以優惠價格享用豪華住宿。這也是維持員工士氣的重要手段:如果能在度假時以里數換取頭等機票,以積分入住馬爾代夫豪華別墅,那麼,在公幹時委屈自己乘搭經濟艙也總算值得。旅遊生態改變,會員計劃成為旅客的著眼點,航空公司及酒店因而承受沉重壓力,需要在改善獎勵計劃方面各出其謀。其中一個好例子是國泰航空最新推出的「商旅尊享計劃」,旨在協助中小企透過員工公幹出行賺取獎賞。對於這種規模並有員工定期飛行的公司,登記使用是明智之舉,因為對公司和個人來說,這可說是百利而無一害。然而,飛行常客獎勵計劃對航空公司和酒店顯然同樣重要,可提高客戶對其業務及品牌的信賴。根據我數十年來的旅遊習慣,我敢保證這道理絕對正確。再者,以積分升等至商務艙或更寬敞的酒店套房,亦有助客戶一窺昔日出差的風光日子。

Newspapers in Chinese (Traditional)

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.