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BankTravel 101 — Why build a bank travel club?

By John and Mary Stachnick, co-owners of Mayflower Tours

Building and Maintaining Relationships…
That’s what it’s all about today. You’ve fought hard to establish a core of quality depositors and users of your service. Now you have to keep them happy, keep them committed, and fend off the competitors who covet your client base.

While you are doing this, you’re also on the lookout for the next wave of depositors – an elusive group that can take your financial institution to the next level. Just like your current customer base, this new market wants to know “what’s in it for them,” and if they’ll be treated like a name, not a number.

Add to this mix the fact that budgets are never what they should be, and finding the resources to accomplish your goals is a recurring fight, one that is never finished.

Many financial institutions have found Bank Club Programs that include travel to be a key element in the enhancement of customer loyalty. They are also an efficient (and in many cases self-liquidating) way to protect and add to your customer base.

Whether you are already involved in such a program, have or have not ever considered it, this article series will help explore all that you can accomplish with this unique approach to an ongoing opportunity.

Enhancing customer loyalty tips
Identify internally which customer base you wish to encourage and reward these people with more of your attention than marginal customers.

About 10% of your customers will “defect” every year to competition for no other reason than they are led to believe that they will be more appreciated elsewhere. You need to reduce this defection rate.

First, make your customers a name, not a number. If you care about your customers, they will care about you. You need to do everything you can to instill a mutual feeling of caring between you and your customer.

Nothing works better than a focus group of your targeted audience. Get them to your office. Cookies, punch and the chance to be heard is all the reward they seek.

Referral campaigns are among the fastest ways to bring outsiders into the fold.

A recent advertising campaign states, “The greatest risk is not taking one.” Don’t dismiss a potentially great idea because there might be “risk” or it may not work. Assume success.

Some things to consider
1) The main purpose of bank loyalty club would be to increase the core deposits in your financial institution, enhance usage of your services and be the customers’ primary bank. Most people work with 2.5 banks on average – do you want to reduce this number among your customer base?

2) Does top management need to be convinced that this is a concept worth pursuing, or are they already amenable to such an idea?

3) Are there communication tools in place, such as newsletters, quarterly publications, lobby reading areas and the like to easily talk with your clients?

4) Is there a staff person who can become the “champion” of the program, accept responsibility and lead your institution’s efforts?

5) Do you have “measurement devices” to ensure that any program of this nature is judged by the good it accomplishes for you?

6) Do you already have other customer loyalty programs like financial planning seminars, investment clubs, day trips and outings, reading rooms, customer appreciation days and other similar programs where infrastructure is already in place?

7) Can you establish the cooperation of your employees for such a program?

8) Would you appreciate the opportunity to recover your marketing costs with a program that returns money to the bank?

9) Are you ready for a reawakening of enthusiasm among your customers, potential customers, and employees, through a new and highly fulfilling experience such as this?

Needless to say, the more questions you can answer in the affirmative, the easier it will be to implement a bank club program to assist in accomplishing your goals.

For more information, contact