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Nowadays, most of us are crazy about traveling. We use plenty of travel applications including numerous loyalty programs that help us to get the most out of each journey, find inspiration and tips, store tickets or simply make our travels more enjoyable. 

However, we frequently feel overwhelmed with the number of apps from airlines, hotels, booking systems, and car rental companies – the list goes on and on. Loyalty programs are quite popular in the travel industry; each mobile application has its points system, login data and rewards listing. We often end up writing critical information on paper, printing tickets and doing screenshots of vouchers we’ve earned in case one of the apps doesn’t work or we forget which one has them.

What if we could improve this landscape?

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The loyalty program concept for Emirates Airlines

We decided to work on this challenge and imagine the solution we would personally like to use. While working on the problem, we concluded that one of the solutions might be based on unifying and connecting everything from a reliable and well-recognizable brand in the industry under one coalition loyalty program.

Emirates Airlines, often called the gold standard of commercial aviation, inspire travelers around the globe with extraordinary quality, customer service and a growing network of destinations. With strong values and significant presence on the global market, Emirates Airlines connect people and cultures all over the world.

Because we love what Emirates Airlines represents, we decided to focus on developing the concept for the Emirates’ brand. Being inspired by the innovation-driven way Emirates operates to exceed customer expectations from the outset, we created the concept of the “Emirates Crypto wallet.”

What’s the concept of the Emirates Crypto Wallet?

The “Emirates Crypto Wallet” is a concept of an innovative wallet that unites multiple loyalty programs in one place. For better security and full transparency, we assumed that the application could use a blockchain to create a single, secure crypto coin.

All points and cards in one place

The primary value the Crypto wallet would provide is the ability for the user to access all his loyalty points collected in multiple loyalty programs through one application. All points could be exchanged between different loyalty programs with full transparency. It would also be possible to exchange points to rewards directly in the Emirates Crypto wallet, or pay with points in stores aligned with the project.

Adding a new loyalty card to the crypto wallet would be simple and quick. The process could look like this:

  1. Enter the “Emirates Cryptowallet” from any partner loyalty app; 
  2. Choose the loyalty card you want to add from the list;
  3. Scan or enter its number.

That’s it. Now you can access this card anytime you want.

A user could swipe through all added cards with the possibility to view detailed information about it and its individual transaction history in one click.

More than typical loyalty rewards

Allowing users to choose how they want to be rewarded can improve overall satisfaction. With this coalition loyalty program, customers could exchange points between applications and use them to pay, redeem various rewards available directly in the Emirates Crypto wallet (coupons, physical goods, services) or support charity organizations. Users will be able to spend points to make the world a better place, use the Emirates Crypto wallet and donate.

The design process

We can divide the design process into two areas: research and actual design. Both are crucial and make an excellent mixture.  Let’s talk about the phases of both design and research to establish how can this help you to build better products for your customers. 

First, you need to understand the problem. What is that you need? What problems is it going to solve? How can it help your customers? You can use business analysts and UX researchers to provide the full context of the problem. Working together, they can offer a complete spectrum of data.

At Divante, we understand the role of research, and we recommend proper methods for every design phase of the loyalty program software.

Researching loyalty in travel and digital wallets

We started with understanding the challenges in the loyalty landscape in the travel industry by competition analysis. It helped us to find out the weaknesses and strengths of the industry, discover major problems companies face, how they are solving them, and what challenges lie ahead. After analyzing ten direct and ten indirect competitors of the Skywards loyalty program, and also by checking our own smartphones and wallets, we identified three key challenges:

  1. Overloaded number of travel loyalty applications; 
  2. Limited choice of rewards for travelers – in particular in loyalty programs;
  3. Slow process of collecting points.

However, we didn’t stop there. We invited three loyal users of the Skywards program and also invited five colleagues who use digital wallets on a daily basis to have an in-depth interview. In-depth interviews provided information that is hard to find and allow us to learn most about people by talking with them directly. 

After two days of IDI, we discovered that 75% of interviewers get lost in options and buttons in apps related to currency and points systems. Hence, we aimed at minimizing interactions to the bare minimum, identifying core functions which solve problems and meet users’ needs.

Another problem which caught our attention and motivated us to conduct further investigation is fear of being scammed. We checked several case studies and came to the conclusion that fraud risk is one of the biggest reasons why most consumers are reluctant to adapt to mobile wallets. Research carried out by YouGov shows that 43% of mobile users don’t trust mobile wallets, 38% fear the situation where their phones get lost.

Making the technology secure for all users and informing them about it in a clear way will aid in stopping any potential financial breaches.  

Most apps have some sort of accessibility barrier that makes it difficult for a person with a disability to use them. We constantly test out designs on web accessibility evaluation tools and make sure that our solutions are accessible for everyone. This inclusive design provides a design that is friendly in a multicultural environment and for people with disabilities. 

Conclusion

We really wanted to improve the experience of the traveler and the customer and imagine how the future of loyalty may look like in upcoming years. By checking world-leading applications like Apple Wallet, Google Pay, Stocard and FidMe, we extracted the best UX practices and adapted our knowledge to design a one-of-a-kind wallet dedicated to the world of travelers.

We hope that with this concept project you were inspired to build a great loyalty experience in your industry!

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Svetlana Havaka

Senior Product Designer at Divante eCommerce Software House | LinkedIn | Twitter Specialized in design which communicates, not just decorates.

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