InterMiles, believes that every journey deserves to be rewarding. That’s why we have gone ahead and created a holistic travel and lifestyle programme that rewards you at every step. When you join as a member, you earn Miles every time you book a flight, a hotel stay, spend on your favourite online shopping brands or even use our co-brand cards. It doesn’t stop here, there are more fun ways for you to keep accumulating miles through our App. Download the app and explore Spin the Wheel, Games, Quizzes, Steps to Miles and more. These InterMiles open up a world of travel and lifestyle privileges for you. You can use your miles to Book Flights and Hotels worldwide! You can also redeem them against Free Fuel at Indian Oil outlets, Gift Vouchers or your favourite products at our Reward Store! InterMiles makes all of it – and more – possible.
Ashish Dhruva, Senior Vice President – Marketing and Customer Engagement at InterMiles talks to us on Intermiles, the way forward, building a self-sustained system and much more…
The pandemic was the worst nightmare of the travel and tourism industry. How did InterMiles, as a brand that facilitates and enhances brand experiences for customers, overcome this pandemic for self and its customers?
Over the last six years, InterMiles has evolved into a new age ubiquitous currency, which can be earned and redeemed on experiences, products and services beyond travel. Our recent consumer survey revealed that flexibility is one of the most valued brand traits desired by customers, given the volatility of the current situation. For example consumers are actively seeking out travel service providers who make allowances for date changes and have free last-minute cancellation policies.
We, therefore, focused on improving our members’ on-going experience with us and adding layers of engagement, which would be relevant to them every day, including essential, daily or even aspirational needs. We strengthened our partnerships in categories like e-learning, online subscriptions, healthcare, fitness, and knowledge series-led webinars, amongst others to successfully create a robust ecosystem through which our members can earn and redeem InterMiles. For instance, we recently launched Edelweiss Group Domestic Travel Insurance that offers free cancellation air travel policy. Customers, booking tickets on InterMiles, for travel anywhere in India, can opt for Zero Cancellation, by paying a nominal amount, at the time of booking.
We will remain focused in our endeavour to create engagement opportunities for our members, which are sustainable from a short to medium to long-term perspective.
Now that we are in the new normal, what is going to be your marketing strategy to get back your customers?
Even before COVID-19 hit, consumers were skewing towards digital channels for services. With an accelerated shift to digital following the pandemic, consumers have begun to grow increasingly comfortable with using online platforms for all their needs including entertainment, daily essentials, healthcare, and e-learning. Our member acquisition strategy has been a digital-first one; this helps us connect with a wider audience range, while also offering them a more customized approach.
We intend to focus on aggressively promoting the InterMiles App, which has an engaging user interface and makes it simpler for members to access our wide range of offerings across travel, shopping, dining and lifestyle verticals.
As our members begin to step-out and familiarize themselves with the new normal, we have also identified opportunities to reward them with new, elevated benefits. With the launch of our App exclusive product – Dine, members can now book tables, order food and pay using InterMiles at over 25,000 restaurants across India. We have also undertaken several major investments with regards to customer engagement tools; they allow us to use a mix of contextual information-driven by data science, thus enabling effective communication with customers.
As the oldest loyalty programme in the country – that has evolved into a loyalty-enabled commerce platform over the years – what touchpoints would you use to increase consumers?
Our major focus area continues to remain the same; we intend to instruct and educate our members about diverse ways to engage with the programme. Alongside, we view digital & social channels and our mobile application as an effective route to reach our goal.
We are also excited about a couple of large product innovations, announcements and partnerships which are in the pipeline. We want members to embrace the programme, and make it their own. Towards that goal, we are looking at providing both – best in class experiences via technology and ample room for customization.
Today, thanks to the pandemic and lockdown we are digital players, any plans to innovate to make the digital experience more attractive and interactive for the consumer?
We have introduced multiple engagement activities like ‘Spin the Wheel’, ‘Step by Miles’ and ‘InterMilesEveryday’ during the pandemic; these continue to drive and engage our members on a daily basis.
Our efforts are channelized towards making our members’ journey with us smoother and more rewarding by curating personalized experiences for them. Through strategic partnerships across 150+ channels, we are able to participate in our members’ everyday journeys, by making it more rewarding for them.
How will InterMiles build a self-sustaining ecosystem?
The universal truth is that customers will reward businesses that solve ‘real problems’ – issues that are a genuine concern and which need a solution. We have invested considerable time and resources in understanding the consumer, and have worked equally hard to curate a completely customer-centric product that has clearly spelt-out, tangible benefits. This value-oriented programme ensures a stream of business and revenue from multiple channels. We have experienced first-hand that when you create a product that drives utility and rewards a customer, they reward you back with business and loyalty, thus ensuring a self-sustaining eco-system.
We have innovated our product offering to ensure that we complement the e-commerce ecosystem, while additionally providing incentives by means of earning and redeeming Miles. This makes us standout in a crowded e-commerce space.
How are you planning to accelerate customer-centricity and agility?
Our members have been at the heart of everything we do. Endowed with this rich culture of consumer centricity, we have always strived to be one-step ahead by pre-empting the needs of our esteemed member-base. Technology has presented us with innovative ways to deepen our approach towards personalizing, driving relevant information, building relevant partnerships, solving real problems and updating our UI experience.
We have multiple methods to engage with customers and constantly secure feedback so that we are sensitive to customer expectations, as we build and improve our products accordingly. Technology continues to play a crucial role in ensuring agility and prompt decision-making.