The ENTERTAINER began as a printed book of buy one get one free offers, before going digital with its award-winning app. Now, with a new B2B platform and the ability to tap into customer behaviour data, the company is charging headfirst into the travel and aviation industry. Robert Meza, Head of Travel at the ENTERTAINER, explains
So the ENTERTAINER is branching out, yet again. Can you tell us a bit about the platform and how it has grown to become more than a discount voucher service?
The most significant change has been the transition from a print publisher to the data-driving technology company we are today. This process meant investing very heavily in building the right platform to not only transition our offer redemption from print to app with added bonuses and leading UX, but also to create the right opportunities to allow third parties to take advantage of our platform and reach.
After the success of our B2C app and platform, we turned our attention to the opportunities in the B2B space, using our technology and the customer data insights we had to provide cutting-edge incentive and reward solutions to companies worldwide.
The verticals you are targeting include travel and hospitality. Whom have you worked with and what are the range of solutions you can offer?
The ENTERTAINER business division has worked for many years with leading brands across the travel, financial, FMCG and telecommunication industries, using the ENTERTAINER’s network of offers to build customised packages to drive loyalty and engagement. Now coupled with our advanced technology platform, we are able to build reward and engagement apps for companies that are strategically targeted to their users–driving more relevancy, and in turn brand advocacy, trust and true loyalty.
Last month saw the launch of our brand new B2B travel platform–ENTERTAINER go–as part of our plans to enhance our offerings for the travel industry with an app specifically designed for the in-bound tourist market. Available in over 160 destinations worldwide, ENTERTAINER go is a mobile travel companion that redefines how companies engage with their customers while they visit their favourite destinations. While ENTERTAINER go serves as a travel app for the end user to explore their destination, book tickets and save money–brands can use the technology to better engage their customers while on the road by offering them rewards and special offers in real-time.
One of our most noteworthy telco collaborations has been with du, who we first started working with in 2014, with a white-labelled du ENTERTAINER positioned as a value-added incentive for the acquisition of new du customers in Dubai.
Due to the success of the ongoing programme, we worked closely with du to develop solutions to meet their different business goals. This year, they were the first brand to debut their du ENTERTAINER go product as an incentive for in-bound tourists to buy their enhanced Tourist SIM plan.
Founded in 2001, the ENTERTAINER is the leading provider of incentive offers through its award-winning global app. The company is headquartered in Dubai Media City, and has offices in 15 countries across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.
Can you tell us a bit more about ENTERTAINER go?
Of course, ENTERTAINER go is a hugely relevant product for the travel industry and focuses on the in-destination travel experience. Recent conversations with airlines and tour operators indicated that travellers want to be able to experience all that a great destination can offer them. So with ENTERTAINER go, travellers can choose to explore their destination ahead of time or when they arrive, with detailed city guides and trip planners. With an in-built booking engine they can buy the best-priced tickets to over 40,000 tours and attractions direct from their phones. And of course, we’ve included amazing money-saving offers from the ENTERTAINER so that they can experience even more of what their destination has to offer.
In the current competitive market, how can you help a typical airline bring more value to its customers, and consequently business results?
Airlines have amazing data about their customers’ booking and travel habits at a very early stage in the funnel, and through their loyalty programmes can understand some preferences linked to profile data and partner activity. What airlines don’t know however is what passengers do when they step off the plane. They may know which hotel they have booked if it was included in the overall booking, but beyond that there is little knowledge.
By leveraging this data and providing a platform for their passengers to enjoy their destination, we can help their customers feel appreciated and retain loyalty to the brand. And because the ENTERTAINER go platform is able to integrate into their existing loyalty programmes–spend points to buy the product–we can help airlines get the miles liability off their balance sheets.
According to the Collinson Latitude report on loyalty published last month, 61 percent of travellers look for loyalty programmes with a broad spectrum of rewards, while 71 percent think that the value of a loyalty programme decreases if it offers a limited range of rewards. Part of that sentiment may be driven by the lower volumes of miles and points that are now being circulated throughout the travel industry. With the adoption of revenue-based loyalty programmes, many consumers are struggling to save up enough points to redeem for a free ticket, so any sort of redemption option is perceived as positive.* So having options beyond buying a ticket is a very positive signal to an airline’s loyalty members, and we have been speaking to airlines about digitising their stopover or boarding pass programmes, and even use the platform to drive ancillary revenue for them.
Can you provide an example of how this would pan out with the service you offer?
Airlines generally have relationships with several merchants and partners, providing direct offers and benefits however these are rarely tracked. Therefore both an airline and its partners are missing out on valuable information as neither truly knows the level of success at play in these relationships. By hosting these offers and benefits within the ENTERTAINER platform we can provide specific data analytics, and by linking the user data back to boarding pass/PNR information. We can micro-segment data by a wide variety of fields such as loyalty tier, cabin class, route, visit type (destination/transit/stopover), residency status (visitor/resident), offer type, merchant type, in-destination location hot stops. This provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to access reports, high-level insights and allow for strategy to provide value not only to the traveller, but also the airline, the merchants and any tourism authorities that are involved.
ENTERTAINER go has a multitude of data points that builds an extremely rich data profile of travellers. For example, we can tell which areas of a destination were visited, what types of attractions we visited, whether they were near or far from the hotel. We can also explore what type of restaurant the traveller likes. All of this data is invaluable in enabling the airline to promote meaningful offers and packages based on real customer needs.
What has your experience with airports been, in terms of products and solutions provided?
We are currently speaking to a few airports and there is a definite interest in making sure they can engage all those passengers going through. Airports are always looking for a reason to drive traffic into their hub and airlines want the passenger to fly with them, so it’s really a win-win partnership which ultimately benefits the traveller and encourages them to spend while they are in the airport either arriving, departing or simply transiting.
Airports want to be a destination in themselves, but without the right technology it can be hard for the traveller to know where things are. We have a partner we work with that maps the inside of airports and allows us to serve offers to travellers as they navigate through the facility. But it’s not just about the airport; the journey begins much earlier, in the planning stages, and that is where a solution like ENTERTAINER go can really help and be part of the entire digital journey.
Could you tailor a product for the aviation industry that leverages the national tourism aspirations of the city or country an airline and airport are based in?
Yes, and we have been in discussions with several entities already. Right now, we are exploring opportunities which facilitate tourist boards by providing them a platform to showcase their destination, either through existing offers and benefits from the ENTERTAINER or through their direct relationships with merchants, hotels, attractions or shopping malls. Harnessing all of the data from a traveller, through the boarding pass, means that the tourism authority can tailor its messaging and contact by market and traveller type as they promote their destination. By using the ENTERTAINER go platform we connect the dots seamlessly and engage the traveller via all of these touch points. You could buy something from the duty free at the airport, earn some rewards that you could then use on the flight, plan your trip on the flight and once you land you could then go and explore the city. To be honest the possibilities are endless, so long as we can engage the user we’re able to connect the journey–not just for the traveller, but also for the brands.
“An Airline’s holiday arm is certainly one avenue to explore sharing the value of the ENTERTAINER with customers, but people are now booking their trips as separate elements rather than packages, and there are several channels that can be used:
Loyalty: Members can burn points to access ENTERTAINER go. This is a positive transaction which is low cost but high value. We can also set up the integration so that members earn loyalty points when they purchase attraction tickets with their credit cards.
Ancillary: As part of the online booking process the product can be sold as a value-add, similar to how insurance, car hire and hotels are positioned at the end of a booking.
On-board sales: Products can be designed and customised for passengers to purchase an access key on board and then activate as they land, or more frequently in the air, so they are ready to experience the local areas and start saving immediately.”