Catalina Island A Sunny Temptation of Loyalty’s Awards

No industry is an island, and that goes for tourism, too. So when Catalina Island Vacation Rentals in California opted to launch a loyalty plan, it did so with its surrounding businesses in mind.

Guests become members of the CIVR Loyalty Program after their fourth stay – an important trigger because 32 percent of its guests are repeat vacationers, according to the company. In return, guests receive discounts at participating island businesses, including restaurants, shops, spas, bicycle rentals, golf cart/club rentals, diving supplies, boat charters and more.

The program is designed to encourage CIVR’s best customers to become the entire island’s best customers. And that translates to a lot of good will, particularly among the smaller, family-owned businesses that benefit from the program. It is worth saying that CIVR is a decent-sized entity: The rentals include roughly 200 private homes on the Southern California island.

I read about the program through the CIVR website. It sounds like a great community endeavor. But to operate like a true loyalty plan, it needs to offer the consumer benefits beyond discounts in return for sharing their information – it should deliver experiences or offers that reflect his or her actual preferences and spending patterns.

For instance, if the consumer shows his loyalty card at the local snorkel shop, is the information stored so that on his next visit, he can be given preferential booking? If she uses her card for a discount on golf, will a free golf consultation be awaiting her on her next visit? Because it should – that is what consumers have come to expect from loyalty.

I think Catalina Island Vacation Rentals is taking a generous and thoughtful step in the right direction, for itself and its fellow businesses. But sustaining loyalty – regardless of program – requires more than passively collecting consumer transactions. It takes acting on them in a way that is relevant.

Ah, but I wonder if I really know enough about it?  As I review the CIVR website, the sandy beaches, the sunset views, I feel that this program may require a little more research. And I do believe I have enough frequent flier miles to visit Catalina Island.

It is my obligation, after all.

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