Perception of Frequent Flyer Programs Amongst Young Fliers

Marie Louise Kobberø

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

As it has been found from theory, loyal customers are highly important for all brands, since these customers are returning and advocating these brands to friends and relatives. It is cheaper for a brand to take care of its loyal customers than creating new marketing schemes in order to gain a hold on new customers, who have jet to try the brand. Loyalty programs have been found to be a great tool to keep customers coming back, and can, if performed correctly, create the necessary structure, which create this loyalty.This thesis was conducted in order to investigate what traditional carriers can do in order to become more attractive for the young traveller segments, know as generation Y and generation Z.Who have been found to be a highly important segment, when talking about tourism. Since they have a high spending power and are travelling more for leisure, and for a longer period than seen before with other segments. Since these segments have become such powerful players within tourism, it has been seen that different industries, within this industry, have begun to meet these consumers by striving to meet their needs, as it has been found with Marriott hotels and their openings of the Moxy brand, which is a cheaper alternative for the young travellers.To investigate what traditional carriers should do, in order to become more attractive for this segment, this thesis have used an online questionnaire to ask young travellers, within the Danish market, what they value when buying airline ticket, and to investigate if there would be aninterest, within this market, for a frequent flyer program targeted specifically for these travellers.Seeing that the market for young travellers are growing, and that they have this high spending power, it has been interesting to see that traditional carriers have not fully embraced these travellers. It has been found that traditional airlines have strived to provided these travellers with discount airfares, where many only are provided to students. It seems like the traditional airlineshave kept their focus on the business travellers, and turned a blind eye to the young travellers by not wanting to compete with the low cost carriers (LCCs), which have been found to be the preferred airlines of the young segment. This has been found to be a mistake since these customers, as a consequence have become loyal towards the LCCs, and it can therefore be expected that when these young travellers gain a higher income they will still be loyal towards these airlines.For this reason, it has been found interesting that traditional airlines have not strive to get a better hold on these young travellers in order to be able to compete with LCCs in the long run. In order to do so the traditional airlines have to gain an understanding of what these young travellers believe to be important when buying airline tickets, and what they want to gain out of a frequent flyer program.This thesis found that the price of the ticket means everything for young travellers, when they are considering which airline to fly with, this was also the case for young travellers, who were found to be part pf an existing frequent flyer programs. However, even though price have such a greatimpact on the young travellers, the thesis found that the main reason for why many of theseyoung travellers are not part of a frequent flyer program is due to lack of knowledge of how these programs works and which benefits it provides. Travellers believe they do not fly enough to accumulate enough points, or miles, to actually get something out of these programs. From theonline questionnaire, conducted by Danes fitting the age target for generation Y and Z, it was seen that there was an interest in a frequent flyer program, which also have been support by the notion that Norwegian have almost gained the same number of members within their loyalty programs, as SAS has. This shows that travellers who chooses to fly with LCCs still are interested to gain additional benefits and wants to be part of a game where they not necessarily know who they are up against, but at the same time provides these members to compete against themselves in the quest of earning the necessary points.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages117