Could Manchester set up a loyalty scheme to boost tourism?

Across all industries, welcome bonuses and offers are an important tool to persuade new customers to get involved with your business.

Loyalty schemes are often used as a way of keeping these customers engaged with the company and/or product.

It’s certainly a popular tool within different online gaming and casino sites.

As an example, there are hundreds of different bingo websites, meaning welcome offers and loyalty schemes are important elements of an individual websites’ promotion.

A spokesperson from Best New Bingo Sites, Sue Dawson, pointed out: “all manner of loyalty schemes have been tried out at online bingo and slot sites over the last few years – everything from elaborate multi-level VIP schemes to a free daily game.

“Schemes, where players are able to claim rewards based on their previous week or month’s play, are currently in vogue.”

As already suggested, there are several industries that have utilised a loyalty scheme to keep customers engaged.

But, would it be possible for an area like Manchester to do it? Well, there’s a country that has.

Fancy a trip to the Maldives?

In 2019, 1.7 million tourists visited the Maldives. It’s an impressive number for sure but they are always looking for new ways to entice tourists to visit.

The following year, they became the first country in the world to offer a rewards program for travellers and visitors.

As part of the ‘Maldives Border Miles program’, travellers visiting the country will earn loyalty points based on the length of stay and number of visits. Extra points are earned by those who are using the trip as part of a special event or occasion.

Should a tourist reach a specific number of points, they will start to receive some exclusive benefits and privileges.

“This is Manchester. We do things differently here.”

This is a quote that celebrates Mancunian culture and heritage, reportedly said by Tony Wilson around the time of the launch of the famous Hacienda nightclub.

It is worth looking at whether this quote still resonates with the average Mancunian and could be used as a way of increasing tourism.

In 2016, Manchester was named as one of the top tourist destinations in the world and the city’s arts and nightlife scene were celebrated.

To improve this, could a Manchester loyalty scheme be used as a tool to further improve tourism, and how would it work?

Throughout 2020 and 2021, there has been a big push to promote and celebrate Manchester’s independent places of business.

Could loyalty points be awarded to tourists who frequently visit Manchester’s independents? Could the scheme be named after a celebrated figure from the past such as Tony Wilson?

Manchester’s loyalty scheme would highlight Manchester as an innovative destination that not only celebrates the past but looks towards the future.

Can loyalty be manufactured?

Research from KPMG suggests that whilst loyalty programs can be useful for businesses and other organisations, there are improvements to be made.

It was said that only 37% of respondents to KPMG’s survey identified loyalty schemes as an influential factor in securing their brand loyalty.

Loyalty schemes are clearly here to stay but looking towards the future, it might be the innovative businesses that create more loyalty from their customers.

Featured image credit: Phil Fiddyment via Flickr CC BY 2.0 license

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