Targeted rewards and personalised communications are fundamental to a successful customer loyalty programme, but keeping messaging interesting rather than intrusive relies upon a comprehensive and flexible management system. Future Airport hears from Piotr Kozlowski, consulting director of airline and travel loyalty solutions at Comarch, a global IT company that counts the ‘Heathrow Rewards’ loyalty programme among its successful collaborations.

What are Comarch’s key services, and how has it developed its offering within the airport industry?
Piotr Kozlowski: Software house and IT services provider Comarch has been delivering solutions to leading companies from the retail, telecommunications, T&T, oil and gas, and financial services industries for over 20 years. It has completed over 3,500 projects in more than 40 countries. We are proud to deliver our solutions to large enterprises including a quarter of Forbes’ top 100 World’s Biggest Public Companies. Our offices are located in over 70 cities all over the world, and our team counts more than 5,000 specialists.

Over the past eight years, we have significantly strengthened our position in the airport and airline industry by delivering loyalty management platforms, business intelligence solutions, smart-city solutions, gamification and engagement platforms, and CRM and loyalty consulting services. Our customer portfolio includes leading travel industry brands such as British Airways and Iberia, Dubai Airports, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Scandinavian Airlines and Zurich Airport.

One of your notable recent successes has been Heathrow Rewards, which has grown to become the world’s largest airport loyalty programme. Why is Comarch’s approach so successful?
The Heathrow Rewards programme is a unique loyalty proposition that targets passengers, visitors and employees of London’s Heathrow Airport. It is essentially a programme in which members have the opportunity to be rewarded for purchases in retail, food and beverage outlets at Heathrow Airport terminals, but it also has a strong travel flavour.

The secret to Comarch’s success is our combined experience in the retail and travel markets, and our in-depth knowledge of the specific technology capabilities required. In building this proposition, we had to ensure it was an attractive programme for shoppers and travellers, but that it did not copy frequent-flyer programmes or cannibalise airline propositions and benefits portfolios. Instead, we wanted it to be complementary to airlines’ programmes.

Airports are large centres of activity, with many different stakeholders and retail offerings. How do you feed all of these elements into one programme?
One of the key selling points of Comarch’s platform is a set of interfaces and touch points that can be used by multiple airport tenants and partners. Thanks to this, businesses can easily deliver transaction data feeds to be processed by the loyalty platform. For that purpose, Comarch delivers flexible API with real-time services, translatable file formats, and a dedicated app for mobile devices.

Our solution is equipped with a strong reporting and analytical platform that provides full insight into the performance of the programme at a global level, as well as at a particular merchant’s level.

Engaging customers on a personal level is central to successful loyalty management. How is this achieved in the Heathrow example?
The personalisation of modern loyalty programmes is primarily driven by targeted communication, powered by data collected from the touch points with members. The programme’s communication and ‘dedicated offers’ generation is based firmly upon the relevance principle, so that members receive meaningful information that can enhance their shopping experience at the airport without intruding. Tailor-made loyalty offers, which include attractive accrual promotions or rewards propositions are focused on building value for members, which ultimately translates into increased shopping activity.

For several years, a unique selling point has been our ability to customise software to fit to the very specific needs of our customers. Developing and extending this capability remains a core focus for our ongoing research and development work.

You mentioned your mobile app; how does this feed into the personalised passenger experience?
The Comarch Loyalty Management (CLM) mobile app, together with our new micro-location technology Comarch Beacon, opens up new opportunities for personalised communication with loyalty-programme members. Using the Beacon signal, the CLM app estimates where the customer is located and prompts real-time messages related to nearby products or checkpoints on his or her smartphone.

While creating these messages, we can draw upon the customer’s loyalty status and purchasing decisions as accumulated in the ‘Comarch Loyalty Management’ platform to highlight benefits and products relevant to a member at a particular time, in a very specific location.