Aimia lays out its post-Aeroplan plan

The company is focusing on providing tech solutions for clients and consolidating other services within loyalty and travel.
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Now that the deal to sell Aeroplan has been finalized, loyalty company Aimia has laid out a strategic plan to transform its business, focusing on creating a simplified, efficient offering for clients looking to build their loyalty programs.

While Aimia continues to operate the Club Premier program in Mexico and BIG Loyalty program for Air Asia – and the company says it will focus on “maximizing the performance” of those investments – much of the new plan appears to be centred around its loyalty solutions offering.

Aimia’s existing loyalty solutions services includes designing, building and providing the technology for loyalty programs its clients are looking to create, as well as offering insights and customer analysis that inform what the program offers to consumers. These offerings have been used in the past by clients including PetSmart, Nordstrom and the Avis Budget Group.

As part of its plan, Aimia will be working to consolidate that loyalty solutions offering. In addition to further reducing operating costs on its path to be profitable by 2020 (Aimia plans to reduce its workforce to about 550 employees by the end of 2019, a cut of roughly 25%), the company claims a simpler service offering focused on technology “will continue to help clients solve the real challenges on their journey to capture customer loyalty” in a more efficient and agile manner.

Aimia also has plans to pursue a limited number of acquisitions, aiming for companies that can compliment its existing loyalty solutions offering. To that end, the company is looking to not only consolidate its own business, but be an “agent of change” that brings together fragmented offerings from other companies within the loyalty and travel sectors, according to Jeremy Rabe, who was named CEO of Aimia last year.

Rabe compared the opportunity for consolidation in loyalty solutions to what has been seen in the broader marketing services space over the last twenty years. While the marketing space has seen the growth of global giants like WPP and Publicis, those same companies have also been working to consolidate their assets and simplify their operating structure in the face of slipping revenue.

If successful in consolidating its loyalty solutions into a simplified offering, Rabe said the plan will be to replicate that model in other sub-sectors of loyalty and travel, though was not more specific about the areas where the company saw opportunity to do so.

The company points to the fact that, over the last three decades, loyalty memberships have experienced annual double-digit growth. North American consumers now have almost four billion loyalty memberships, with retail, travel and hospitality, and financial services sectors representing 88% of loyalty memberships in the U.S. and 80% in Canada.

In January, the transaction to sell the Aeroplan loyalty program to Air Canada closed, bringing an end to a process that was, at times, hostile. Aimia also released its Q4 earnings in conjunction with its new strategic plan, showing that a significant decrease in operating costs had reduced its net loss to $126.2 million from $214.7 million the year before.