Travel and Transport, a travel management company founded in 1946 and headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the fifth-largest travel company in the United States. Loyalty360 recently had the opportunity to talk with Michelle Holmes and Cyndi Pereira of Travel and Transport. What follows is Part II of a Q&A in which we learned more about merchant-funded offers, thoughts on the future of the industry, and more. Part I of this Q&A can be found here.
 
 
What are some things your partners are asking for?
 
A main thing that we’re asked about a lot are merchant-funded offers. So we’re trying to work more closely with brands, again specific to a certain portfolio or a certain card issuer, where they may want to include certain brands but exclude other brands. We’re having a lot more conversations directly with brands, and it could be through one of our sourcing partners.
 
Are they asking you for merchant-funded offers to offset some of the cost?
 
A lot of things can mean merchant-funded. We’re looking at more brand placement in email promotions that will increase sales on the card. That’s really what our clients’ looking for – to have it increase sales. The brand looks for that as well – to put an offer together to increase the in-store sales for them. We help the client and brands align on goals and then measure the performance and outcome of the promotions.
 
Also, it could be a rebate type of program for shopping. We’ve looked at those programs that can be curated, where they may want to exclude certain brands that might conflict with some of the co-brand cards that they issue.
 
So there are a variety of ways that we’re talking to them about merchant-funded. I would say kind of three different areas there – one for short-term promotions, point redemption reductions where people are going to drive engagement to the redemption site for that brand, and then also just the brand placement, and then the other rebate types of promotional offers.
 
What do you think is in the future for the industry?
 
You could see a shift in point-related programs that would allow for redemption to accrue over a longer period of time. Make that carrot dangling better for a longer view – so inspire people to save more points instead of pulling the trigger so quickly on instant rewards. And really marketing to that individual on experiential travel and saving your points for the bigger bang of a rewarding experience that affects you personally.
 
We also are seeing financial institutions start to look at their portfolios a little differently. So, do they need to better segment them and offer different things based on the demographic of what they’re seeing from those individuals, whether it be spend or what they see from a transactional basis on their card? What are they doing to make those decisions and how can they better align rewards in tune for what they’re seeing?
 
And there are some financial institutions that are also talking about householding. So, how can they utilize more of their entire portfolio of what they’re doing with that financial institution? Are they loans? Are they debit or are they credit? Are they opening up a savings account? What is it that they’re looking at – and if there is some way they can look at a different picture of their card member and how they want to structure rewards and programs that they foster?

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