BizReport Interview: How loyalty programs are changing how businesses, consumers interact

This interview by Kristina Knight was originally posted on

As people’s lives become ever busier and busier, making it simple to first earn and then redeem loyalty program rewards is becoming more important to both keeping and engaging customers. Because of that, programs are focusing more on making both of these processes as transparent and frictionless as possible.

Kristina: What trends are you seeing in the loyalty space?

Peter Gorla, Managing Director, VOILA Hotel Rewards: On the points burning side, this means that programs are giving members more control over the currency that they have earned. In many cases, this means giving members a wider variety of redemption options and making the redemption process as flexible and easy as possible. On the point earning side, because of information sources like InsideFlyer and LoyaltyLobby, members have a clearer picture than ever about the value that they receive from investing into a given program. They are able to compare the generosity of each program fairly easily now. For that reason, the leading programs are becoming more transparent and paying closer attention to their comparative generosity.

Mark Dority, Director of Business Development, KULA Causes: I see a trend toward more Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and brands engaging their members in this process. Although brands are starting to engage members in the giving process there is still the “old guard” mentality that brand choose where consumers can give. Kula has opened up the options for brands to engage members in this process. With Kula’s over 2 million causes around the globe it is virtually impossible for a consumer not to find an organization that touches them and that they want to donate to. Thus creating more brand engagement with the consumers. Kula is proud to work with an innovative brand such as VOILÀ that understands the opportunity they are giving VOILÀ members in choosing a cause that means the most to every individual rather than funnel the options to only a few causes.

Kristina: During the upcoming holiday season, how can brands better position their loyalty program?

Peter: For several years now, we have run promotions geared around our charitable partners. The point of these campaigns is simply to drive awareness and engagement about our members’ ability to redeem their VOILÀ points for a charitable donation. This year, we have selected Kula as our featured charitable partner. VOILÀ’s strategy is centered on partnering with local independent hotel brands and we believe Kula provides an excellent platform to bring a world of local charitable options to our members. While I do believe that this initiative is good brand positioning for VOILÀ, we run these campaigns because we believe in the causes that these donations from our members support and we believe it’s the right thing to do.

Mark: The holiday season is the season of giving. We are happy and excited to be part of VOILÀ’s holiday campaign this year and for years to come. With 2 million causes reaching every corner of the globe our platform is the perfect compliment for VOILÀ members to be able to donate to a cause that is important to them.

You can read part two of Kristina Knight’s chat with VOILÀ and KULA, including the reward options that will engage consumers, here.