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How Do Train Loyalty Schemes Impact Station Profitability?

6 minute read | 27/09/2018

How Do Train Loyalty Schemes Impact Station Profitability?

Loyalty schemes are beneficial in many industries. And the rail industry is no different. Passengers love to be rewarded for their loyalty and like to reap the rewards too. But it’s not just the passengers; the train station and all of the vendors within it will also see the benefits of passenger loyalty. Here’s how.

We’ll cover:

  • Repeat Business
  • Familiarity
  • Car Parking
  • Enhance Station Profitability Through Passenger Communication and Experience

Repeat Business

Loyalty schemes, in any particular form of industry, encourage repeat business. Travel companies are one of the most advantageous schemes to be a part of as a passenger. Train fares in particular can often be quite expensive and the costs can accumulate especially for commuters who are travelling at peak times. Passengers will be more satisfied if they know they’re earning rewards as they travel.

Travel loyalty schemes typically include collecting points and then using them for discounted tickets or free upgrades to first class. Or they might allow passengers to accumulate points for a third party loyalty scheme.

For example, Transpennine Express allows passengers to collect Nectar points for every £1 that they spent on their train tickets. These Nectar points can then used for a variety of other rewards hosted by Nectar.

Virgin Trains also allow passengers to collect Nectar points or regular Virgin points which can be redeemed for first class upgrades, fun days out with the family or even towards their next holiday with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Those examples highlight the ways in which passengers can redeem various rewards for their loyal custom. The business is then rewarded from this loyal custom with increased revenue more frequently.

But it’s not only the Train Operating Company (TOC) and the passenger who can benefit from repeat business. The vendors and businesses within the station can also benefit from loyal passengers.

As passengers like to travel from the same station, businesses within the station will have more opportunities to attract and engage the same passengers with their brand messages.  If passengers engage with a brand and find that it boosts their travelling experience, they can be enticed to returning to that station to engage with that specific brand again.

It instils a feeling of familiarity.


Whether it’s how they prefer to travel, or where they like to go out for dinner, people like to stick to what they know. This attitude often extends to travelling and loyalty schemes can help to influence this mindset even further. For instance, loyalty schemes will help entice passengers into returning to the station because they know what they’ve signed up for and what rewards they’ll be getting in return.

This familiarity helps to keep a constant flow of traffic daily, weekly and monthly into the station. And if passengers are constantly in the station, it means the shops are going to benefit from the large footfall numbers too.

In addition, habits will mean that people always get a coffee on the way to work, or buy their lunch in the station to save time from making it in the morning. It’s a win-win for everybody, especially station profitability.


Car Parking

Loyalty schemes can offer discounts for parking at your regular station. The more you travel, the more you save on leaving your car. Which if you’re using the train to get to work every day, could soon amount to a large saving for passengers. And who doesn’t enjoy an opportunity to save money?

Passengers will be more likely to use car parking at the station if they know there’s an opportunity to save and utilise a discount. Therefore, the station will be seeing more people parking there as opposed to anywhere else, which ultimately means more profit, regardless of whether they’re getting it at a cheaper price than less regular passengers.


Enhance Station Profitability Through Integrated Travel and Passenger Comms to Offer a Better Experience

So, you’ve seen three ways in which loyalty schemes can impact station profitability. But how can you improve on that so you maximise the potential of making as much profit as possible?

Well, by concentrating on passenger communication and improving their overall travel experience.


Offer Free WiFi That Provides User Insight

“Excuse me, do you have WiFi?” is one of the most common questions, whether you’re in a pub, restaurant, shopping centre and now train stations. WiFi can improve the passenger experience massively, so it’s a great feature to have.

With passenger WiFi you can obviously provide them access to the internet, allowing them to browse at their will. Although this is only a small gain for the passenger, it creates a truly welcoming and enjoyable station experience which will hopefully keep them happy and will make them more likely to come back again.

Whilst passengers are killing time at the station waiting for their train, it’s the ideal opportunity for you to connect with them. It’s far easier reaching out and gaining feedback from them when they’re engaged and don’t have much to do.

As the passenger logs in to the WiFi, they are presented with a User Experience, in which you can integrate many other services, such as your existing survey platform. As they’re waiting, killing time, it’s the perfect opportunity to try and get their feedback as there’s minimal disruption.


The data is collated within your survey platform for you to analyse and see what you’re doing well and where you could improve. Once these improvements are made, the experience is better for the passenger and makes them feel as if you’ve listened.

Another example of a great way of improving somebody’s journey is integrating with Passenger Information Systems, to show live travel information and updates on the User Experience of the WiFi Whether it’s platform changes or delays, the passenger doesn’t have to constantly check the board for the latest update on their service. This is convenient and allows for a better overall travel experience that will likely lead to them returning and using again.


Therefore, by integrating Passenger Information Systems and providing a better overall experience it’s likely that customer loyalty levels will increase. If passengers are satisfied with the service that you’re providing then they’re more than likely to give you their business rather than take it elsewhere with a different company they’re not familiar with.

WiFi doesn’t just have to be beneficial for the passenger either. For the station, you can use the WiFi data to your advantage by looking at analytics and data reports. If you understand when the station is at its busiest you can prioritise these times to put more staff on shift, open the shops and maybe dot around different stalls to maximise profitability. Understand more about the types of passengers using your services and plan your business and marketing strategies based on these insights.


Find Out How WiFi SPARK Can Help You Like We Helped Arriva Trains

Transport Analytics allow you to take control of your passenger data and use the knowledge gained to improve the service. For more information about WiFi SPARK’s work with the transport sector, download the free case study.