One of the perks of being a frequent business traveller is gaining points and status through the loyalty programs of preferred ground, air and hotel providers. Indeed, being able to get an upgrade and/or earn additional extras that business travellers value makes being on the road for business that much more pleasant.
But how valuable are these loyalty programs? A new GBTA Foundation study sponsored by Enterprise, Rental Car Rewards: A Look at Ground Transportation Loyalty Programs in the United Kingdom and Germany, explores the habits and trends that are affecting the loyalty programs of ground transportation companies in two of Europe’s biggest business travel markets.
Business travellers in the UK and Germany infrequently use rental cars – only about one experience per quarter – yet business travellers in both countries say they are satisfied for the most part with their rental car experiences, with more than 60 percent in both countries expressing satisfaction.
Preferred contracts with ground transportation companies are common in both Germany – 88 percent – and the United Kingdom – 76 percent. However, a majority of business travellers in both countries do not feel the existence of a membership club or loyalty program is important. Travel buyers in the United Kingdom, though, value these types of programs much more than those in Germany do with 42 percent claiming these programs are very or somewhat important compared to 14 percent.
Even though travel buyers in the United Kingdom feel loyalty rewards programs are more important than those in Germany, such programs are much more common in German contracts.
Paradoxically, although travellers in the UK and Germany do not frequently rent cars or see the value in ground loyalty rewards programs, 68 percent of German business travellers and 77 percent of British business travellers say that having access to expedited rentals is important. Similarly, UK and German based companies value expedited rentals at just about the same rates as the individual travellers.
What this latest study found is that while car rental loyalty programs themselves are not seen as valuable, the benefits that they provide – namely expedited rentals – are highly valued by both businesses and business travellers in the United Kingdom and Germany.