Virgin Group and Virgin Atlantic are launching a brand-wide loyalty programme that they claim will create more value for customers and reward them in “unique and differentiated” ways.
Virgin’s existing loyalty scheme, Virgin Red, will be integrated into the new scheme, which will be managed by the newly-created Virgin Group Loyalty Company. Andrew Swaffield, CEO of Monarch and the former boss of IAG-owned loyalty scheme Avios, will head up the new business when it launches in 2019.
“Customers expect to be rewarded for their loyalty to Virgin and we want to ensure Virgin customers get the very best rewards possible,” Swaffield says. “Our ambition is to bring the Virgin companies together and combine their appeal to customers, working together to create a truly outstanding offer.”
The new scheme will use the same currency as Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club, which will continue as the frequent flyer programme for the airline’s customers. The Flying Club offers travellers ‘miles’ that can already be spent on a variety of Virgin products or services.
Oliver Byers, senior vice-president of global sales and customer loyalty at Virgin Atlantic, says: “We’re excited to work collaboratively with Virgin Group to build a stronger loyalty programme and unleash the power of our shared brand to reward customers for their loyalty to Virgin.
“We’ll be giving customers more reasons to join Flying Club and fly with Virgin Atlantic and our airline partners.”
Previously, companies under the Virgin brand have been run relatively separately. However, there are growing signs of them more closely aligning.
Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays are looking to more closely align their marketing, and have appointed AMV BBDO to help with that aim.
And the launch of the Virgin Red loyalty app in 2016 aimed to give consumers more reasons to pick a Virgin company over rivals.
Speaking at the time, Virgin Red’s then marketing director Helen Tupper said its launch came in response to “frustration” from customers who didn’t understand why they weren’t rewarded if they were a Virgin Trains customer, for example, and then joined a Virgin gym.
“The loyalty programme is designed to encourage multiple relationships. We have known for a long time that this is the right thing to do from a customer and business perspective. But we wanted something efficient, engaging and that felt Virgin-like,” explains Tupper.