Loyalty is an emotional bond which cannot be fostered online, a group of leading travel professionals have suggested.
Speaking at TTI’s spring conference on customer relationship marketing, Wexas’ Nathan Philpott described loyalty as a “feeling of devoted attachment”, which can only be achieved through emotional interaction.
Philpott, who is marketing director of the membership-only travel club said: “It’s something I don’t believe can be achieved on the web. Loyalty is derived from good old-fashioned service.”
He added that the company had tried online booking about five years ago but preferred to deal with people looking for human interaction.
“It’s something that I personally want us to steer clear of because there are people in this industry who are far better at it.”
Peter Matthews, founder and managing director of web consultancy Nucleus, admitted creating loyalty online is hard but said it was mostly because companies try and do it in isolation.
“You can’t do it with CRM alone. Very few brands have their proposition buttoned right down and know who their customers really are. The secret of good marketing is knowing who you want to build a relationship with.”
He added that 50% of traffic to sites of big brands departs almost immediately.
Matthews advised anyone in online marketing to go back to basics and use free tools such as Google Analytics to research audiences
“Once you have got your brand proposition articulated and you know who your perfect customer is – this is where technology meets marketing.”