With traditional demographic approaches to travel audience segmentation losing relevance in an online world, a report by Collinson Latitude presents an urgent call for travel brands to reinvent their loyalty schemes because of the rise of a whole new breed of traveller who demands more choice and flexibility: the 'Grand Wanderluster'. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

A product of the digital boom, members of The Grand Wanderluster generation are defined not by their age or gender but by their behaviours, characteristics and interests. On average they fly or stay in hotels two to three times a year, like to book travel online and are more often than not swayed by reward programmes on offer when choosing where to buy travel.

However, though united in their high expectations of reward programmes and their desire to travel, click here found no single thread connecting the needs, wants and expectations of The Grand Wanderluster generation, which included:

  • Offering choice
    41% prefer to receive products and services from a travel brand's own range and 82% of travellers want to choose which categories of rewards they receive.
  • Improving communication
    While 15% believe they do not hear from their travel reward programmes at all, three quarters (77%) said they would like more input in shaping their own reward programme experience.
  • Delivering multi-channel
    About half (51%) of consumers want to redeem their rewards online, a fifth (20%) via a mobile device, while a tenth (13%) still prefer to redeem in-store.

The report identified six Grand Wanderluster personas, aimed at helping travel brands group the needs and expectations of their customer base:

  1. The Aspirational
    As reinvented frequent flyers, their revenue potential is high; they care about points and want quick/easy online redemption methods. They hate being bombarded with irrelevant rewards, so use data to find out their hobbies/interests and present them with reward options that fit their lifestyle.
  2. The Balancers
    As work-life jugglers, they want to get the most for their money, and will likely spend more - on higher value rewards - if these are tailored to their needs. They want to hear from you more, online, with a variety of non-travel related rewards that will help them get the best value.
  3. The Nesters
    They put family first, so appreciate rewards that will enhance the family environment. They said they don't hear from you often enough, so increase communication. Offer online redemption and rewards that will improve the regular family holiday.
  4. The Safeguarders
    These people have a larger disposable income than most and prefer to communicate directly with brands, either by phone or face-to-face. Offer rewards that match the diversity of activities they enjoy and reach out to them through traditional methods; they want to hear from you.
  5. The On-Demanders
    These career-orientated smartphone fanatics need instant gratification and quick/easily accessible reward and redemption options. They aren't willing to wait, so make your reward programme device-friendly and let them choose their own reward categories, including luxury offers from premium brands.
  6. The Individualists
    Brands rarely target these free-thinkers, so they are sceptical and disinterested in rewards. Start with regular communication, and give them more ways to earn and redeem rewards. Once they are on-board they will be a valuable and active member of your rewards programme.

"The current accessibility and mass availability of travel means that traditional demographic based approaches to audience segmentation are a thing of the past," said James Berry, e-Commerce director for Collinson Latitude. "Travel brands need to reinvent how they engage with the Grand Wanderluster generation or risk losing them to the competition. Travel brands need to identify the needs and wants of each persona inside their customer base and start offering rewards - through the right channels - that will keep their travellers brand loyal."