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Orbitz Rolls Out New Loyalty Program

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 11/1/2013

Travel website Orbitz launches innovative loyalty program as a way to become more competitive with other travel sites.

Every business owner worth her salt knows that loyalty is a determining factor in business growth. The old axiom that it's cheaper to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one is a marketplace reality and unless the business can build a loyal customer following, its chances of ever achieving meaningful and sustained growth are limited, at best.

Orbitz Loyalty Program

Not surprisingly, loyalty also plays a role in the online travel industry. In a move designed to improve its ability to compete with other online travel sites, Orbitz recently announced of a new and innovative loyalty rewards program.

Called "Orbitz Rewards", the program is designed to reward repeat customers, with a loyalty strategy that Orbitz believes will be difficult for its competitors to quickly or fully replicate.

Here's how it works: Orbitz rewards program participants are eligible to earn "Orbucks" at a rate of up to 5 percent on hotel transactions (5 percent on bookings through Orbitz's mobile app, 3 percent on all other booking channels) and 1 percent on standalone flights or vacation packages. Orbucks can then be immediately used for Orbitz purchases, with the value of an Orbuck equal to one U.S. dollar.

In addition to motivating existing customers to return to Orbucks for future travel purchases, the program is also designed to incentivize customers to use Orbitz's mobile app to book travel reservations -- signaling Orbitz's belief that mobile apps will play an increasingly larger role in the online travel marketplace.

"We are very excited to have the full Orbitz Rewards program in the marketplace and open for all travelers to join, start earning rewards and saving on their travel costs just in time for the holidays," Chris Orton, president at Orbitz, told the Chicago Business Journal.

For small businesses, the best piece of loyalty program advice from the Orbitz announcement may be that it's possible to achieve multiple goals with loyalty initiatives. In Orbitz's case, the brand is hoping to simultaneously boost loyalty and drive more customers to its mobile booking app. With a little creativity, small business owners can leverage loyalty programs to achieve similar benefits or competitive advantages.

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