Collinson Research Reveals Travel-related Rewards and Benefits as Rising Opportunity for Financial Services Brands

According to Collinson’s new Asia Pacific customer engagement and loyalty research report, travel-related rewards and benefits have a strong influence on consumers’ (the new “C-suite” of this era) use of payment cards for daily and travel expenses.  

  • 02:07 PM, 2 Aug, 2023



(Singapore, 27 July 2023) Collinson, a global leader in the provision of airport experiences, loyalty and customer engagement solutions, and owner and operator of Priority Pass, invited Media to its launch of the APAC Customer Engagement and Loyalty Research Report 2023 at No Menu Restaurant in Singapore. The report, like the restaurant, served up a delicious meal of information in its Asia Pacific customer engagement and loyalty research report titled ‘The New Rules of Engagement: Customer Expectations Revealed’. Surveying 4,750 respondents across 10 markets in Asia Pacific, the report aims to better understand what consumers in this region expect from brands and companies, as the world enters the “Customer Experience Era”.   

The report shows that 76% of consumers in Asia Pacific perceive the experiences that brands and companies provide to be as important as its products and/or services. As consumers form the new “C-suite”, their expectations are rapidly evolving: they want brands to provide hyper-personalised communication and offers, to anticipate their needs, and are eager to build emotional connections with the brands they buy from the most. Against this “Customer Experience Era”, travel-related rewards and benefits have emerged as a rising opportunity for financial services brands to drive better commercial returns. 

 According to the report, four in five consumers in Asia Pacific are more likely to use their payment cards for travel expenses if the cards offer travel-related rewards or benefits. This trend is especially apparent among consumers from Malaysia (84%), India (83%), Vietnam (82%), Thailand (81%), Mainland China and Hong Kong SAR (both 80%). It is also reported that consumers from India (83%), Vietnam (82%), Hong Kong SAR (81%), Malaysia (81%) and China (79%) are more likely to use payment cards with travel rewards or benefits for daily expenses. Interestingly, millennial consumers make up the largest group with this sentiment, while more than nine in 10 Gen Z consumers in Asia Pacific are likely to join a new customer engagement and loyalty programme if it offers these rewards.  

Rohan Bhalla, Vice President, Business Solutions, Asia Pacific, Collinson (pictured above) speaking of the research findings and taking questions along with Todd Handcock, President, Asia Pacific, Collinson (lower right) comments: “Long-standing behaviours and consumer preferences have shifted in the wake of the pandemic; customers now have higher expectations of enhanced, highly-relevant experiences. At the same time, brands are under pressure to deliver measurable business impact through their customer engagement activities.

Customer experience remains the key to earning long-term, enduring loyalty. While most consumers (60% of surveyed respondents) cite rational rewards such as points or cashback as preferred ways to engage with them; emotional, ‘experiential’ benefits are becoming increasingly significant – especially for younger demographics like Gen Z, and travellers who take 10 or more trips per year. Interestingly, this latter cohort are also members of twice as many customer engagement and loyalty programmes when compared to less frequent travellers.”  

Non-financial, experiential-driven rewards sought after by consumers in Asia Pacific include airport lounge access (41%); VIP privileges (39%); environmental sustainability rewards, such as carbon offsetting (26%); digital rewards in the form of NFTs (19%); access to digital experiences in the Metaverse and charitable donations (both 18%). These types of benefits are most appealing to millennial and Gen Z respondents.  

Financial services brands have an advantage when it comes to providing the experiences consumers increasingly desire, connecting customer data across products to identify and predict major life events. An increasing number of brands, particularly in the financial services sector, are in turn creating more contextual engagements by identifying and leveraging micro-moments in their customers’ lives to add value – and in turn, generate a direct and measurable impact to their business,” Bhalla adds.  

Linked to the rising popularity of experiential rewards, the Report findings also highlight the popularity of customer engagement and loyalty programmes that come with the ability to redeem and use travel-related rewards and benefits. Nine out of 10 consumers are attracted to join such programmes, more so consumers from Vietnam (97%), Malaysia (94%), Thailand (94%), India (90%) and China (89%).  

With travel firmly back on the agenda globally, the report also discovered that consumers in Asia Pacific rate airport lounge access as the most appealing travel-related reward – in turn having a positive effect on Asia Pacific travellers’ emotional connection to the brand providing access – with respondents advising it makes them feel valued (56%) and rewarded (52%). Access to airport transit hotels placed second overall, while Gen Z and millennial consumers, particularly in Mainland China, Korea and Thailand, revealed access to gaming lounges to be their third most appealing travel-related reward.  

Collinson works with some of the world’s leading financial services and travel and hospitality brands to deliver market-leading airport experiences (including airport lounges, sleep pods, spa and gaming facilities), loyalty and customer engagement programmes to deepen their relationships with their most valuable customers. For more information on findings from ‘The New Rules of Engagement: Customer Expectations Revealed’, please download the full report here.  

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