How do travel preferences impact brand loyalty?

Rewards programs are less important than quality of accommodations and service, a Facebook survey finds.

Many Canadian travelers participate in loyalty programs offered by travel brands, but it’s the quality of accommodations and experience that are king when it comes to brand preference, according to findings from a new report.

The report was compiled from a global survey conducted by Accenture and commissioned by Facebook, which included 1,023 respondents from Canada.

The top drivers for loyalty to a travel brand in Canada are quality of accommodations (91%) and consistent reliable service (86%). In comparison, the rewards options available on a loyalty program was chosen as an important factor in brand loyalty by 54% of respondents – despite the fact that 82% of respondents participate in them and 62% say being a member makes them “feel more loyal.” Price was a factor in switching brands as for 57% of those who did so in the last year did so because of price, with 25% doing so because of convenience.

When it comes to younger travelers, digital experiences and convenience are a bigger factor in staying loyal to a travel brand: 55% of respondents under 35 are more likely to stay loyal to a travel brand that has an easy to use website or mobile app (32% said they stopped a booking because a digital platform was slow or confusing). Among young respondents who use an online travel agency, 51% say it is because it is more convenient, while 40% expressed a desire for a digital service that allowed them to move more easily between sites and apps so they didn’t have to start booking or planning from scratch each time they switched from a site to an app, for example.

One of the other big drivers of travel brand loyalty among young people is recommendations. Recommendations from friends and family are important in travel choices (according to 45% of respondents), but recommendations from other sources have value as well: 37% say tailored product recommendations are valuable to them, with 80% saying it’d be acceptable for a brand to post in an online travel group that was started by an individual.