Customer loyalty can easily be achieved through a new spin on the classic bank travel clubs

You may be quite familiar with the concept of bank travel clubs or you may know next to nothing about them. Either way, things are changing in 2013. Bank travel is making a comeback and in a whole new way.

What is Bank Travel?

Bank Travel is the common term for customer loyalty programs which provide travel as an incentive to members of a given financial institution. Bank travel is used to build and maintain relationships with customers as well as acquire new clients. It is also used to keep current customers loyal and fend off competitors.

Bank Travel Before

Bank travel up until this point has been widely geared toward senior citizens or at least those over the age of 50. Most bank travel groups required a minimum deposit into an account that was a fairly large amount (commonly $5,000-$10,000) and the travel incentives often included things like theater trips and bus tours.

Bank Travel Now

In 2013 I think it’s time we make some changes. Bank travel can be reimagined for this new era we’re in and become even more valuable. With advances in technology plus a different demographic, bank travel could come back to life. What made senior citizens such a great demographic for bank travel is that they often have the time and money to travel. However, if we gear a bank travel club to a younger group of say, 18-24 year olds, it could really take off.

A Younger Group

Many college-age young adults come home from school for summer vacation and have some time on their hands. They also tend to have summer jobs. This is great for two reasons. First, summer jobs mean they have some money to spend on a bank travel trip (at least an inexpensive one). Second, they have funds coming in which means they’ll need a bank. They may be saving up for college or to get a car and having a bank they trust and are comfortable with will help them do it. You could be that bank. Bank trips can provide an educational opportunity for this age group. The bank can use the trip to educate the members on how to maintain their finances as well as the bank itself. A college student’s summer job or internship may be the first one they’ve had with the option of direct deposit. This is a perfect opportunity to offer the bank travel group as an incentive for enrolling in direct deposit with your bank. This younger demographic has so much to offer in terms of making bank travel groups a worthwhile endeavor. Simply gear the trips toward a younger demographic with things such as amusement parks, comedy shows, etc.

Using Technology

With all the new technology we now have available, bank travel trips can become way more effective. For instance, instead of simply talking about your bank, you can now show a commercial or a slideshow about your bank on the motorcoach. You could develop a PowerPoint presentation with slides of graphics and statistics and play it as a slideshow as well. You can have text in polls on board so members can vote or answer poll questions with their cell phones and you can get responses in real time. You can even do bank trivia throughout the trip and award prizes for those who text in the correct response. For instance, you can ask something like “on a scale of 1-5 how likely would you be to order personalized checks with images if they were more expensive than plain checks?” and get responses from your group in an instant. You could also ask them questions about what you’ve gone over and the first person to text the correct answer will get a free water bottle or t-shirt.

“Bring a Friend”

Allowing bank travel group members to bring a friend is beneficial in two ways. First, it encourages members to go on the trips even if they’re shy because there will be at least one person that they know. In addition, it gives you a chance to acquire a brand new bank member; if your sales pitch is good enough that is! You could charge the member the lowest fee and the “bring a friend” rate could be slightly higher.

Loyalty Cards

You can give all members of your bank travel group a loyalty punch card of some sort for when they go on multiple trips. By attending multiple trips they can earn punches on the card for a final reward when the card is full. For example, if they go on five trips they can attend the sixth one for free. It could even be something as simple as a bank t-shirt or small gift card. Rewards and incentives of all kinds are encouraging and this will make them feel even more like a valued member of the bank and not just an account number.

A Learning Experience

Since members in this younger age group are not as familiar with how banks work, bank travel can be an opportunity to educate them about all different types of bank services. If they learn about these complicated and sometimes overwhelming topics they will be more likely to come to you for these services in the future and remain loyal to your bank. They will stick with what’s familiar and that will be you.