12 countries suitable for coalition schemes – Aeroplan CEO
Nectar owner targets programmes in other territories
Groupe Aeroplan is targeting twelve countries where it says its coalition loyalty scheme model is viable.
The Canadian company already runs multi-partner schemes in Italy, the Middle East, Canada and the Nectar programme in the UK.
CEO Rupert Duchesne said Germany, France, Spain and Japan are countries where Groupe Aeroplan may expand. A move into Germany would mean competing with the hugely successful PayBack multipartner scheme, which has 19.6 million active German cardholders and has also started operating in Poland.
“We believe there are another dozen markets around the world to take the coalition play,” Duchesne said in a speech at a conference on airline loyalty, adding that emerging ‘BRIC’ economies such as India and Brazil are other potential markets. In June PayBack bought a majority stake in India’s largest loyalty scheme company i-mint.
“The markets where we think this works are essentially markets that are similar to Canada, the UK and Italy — they’re big homogenous economies,” said Duchesne.
He added that such markets ideally have one or two airlines, four or five big retail banks and significant retail competitors with “sophisticated” product offerings.
One of Aeroplan’s major competitors is US-based Alliance Data Systems which operates Canada’s Air Miles reward scheme.
Aeroplan operates loyalty schemes for Air Canada and for Imperial Oil which is Canada’s largest gasoline refiner and operates the Esso gasoline station business.
Duchesne said that Aeroplan is analyzing shopping patterns so that it can target suitable rewards to its scheme members.
“Everybody else is now collecting data very rapidly as well. If the airline business doesn’t keep ahead of the curve, it will fall behind.”
A frequent flyer program that has a participating grocery store can look at a customer’s buying habits. If a customer purchases baby clothes, for example, that information can be used to promote a family trip to Disney, Duchesne said.
Aeroplan owns UK data analytics firm LMG which its uses to analyse data from Nectar partner Sainsbury.
Duchesne added that Aeroplan protects consumers’ privacy and does not give their names and addresses to merchants for direct marketing. However, he added that Aeroplan can help retailers target specific groups of customers to market particular products.