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6          Discussions


Customers are said to be loyal when their buying behavior remains consistent to one type of item and completely ignore the pleas of competitors. Indeed, it is a known fact that customer loyalty is beneficial to businesses. There are a myriad of ways on how this loyalty can be achieved. Previous researches have concluded that satisfied consumers are more loyal to the product as compared to unsatisfied customers (Bailey & Schultz, 2000).

Accordingly, any business's most advantageous strategic purpose is to gain customer loyalty. It has a constructive effect on company culture, development and bottom line (Dick & Basin, 1997). Customers will be able to see that the company is geared towards retaining customers through all business processes from management to staff. Aside from being a strategic purpose, gaining customer loyalty is also a key corporate challenge today especially in this increasingly competitive and crowded marketplace because of the eventual profitability it will provide especially in terms of international marketing (Chow & Holden, 1997).

Every international business wants to have a regular customer base because customers dictate profits and how the customer is treated will reflect on whether the customers will remain loyal with the company or not.  Competition forces certain brand names to become stronger than others because of product loyalty and name recognition. Consumers tend to buy what is already familiar to them (Henry, 2000). Thus, it becomes imperative for retailing outfits, especially small or exclusive ones to build a steady base of customers to exist in the competitive marketplace.

It has been noted that customers have both current and potential value to companies. Thus, another advantage of having a loyal customer base is that it is more inexpensive to maintain one than acquiring new customers. The cost to get new customers amount to 5-10 times more than that of keeping a customer because there are a lot more tasks to be done to acquire new customers. Having a regular customer base will shift the focus of business strategies to improvement of product and service quality among others (Bijou & Palmer, 1998). In 1999, fashion retail giant, Marks and Spencer's (M&S) suffered a big loyalty test in Northern Ireland when customers expressed dissatisfaction about the stagnant fashion, inconsistency of sizes and high prices. Even those who considered weekly trips to M&S a must complained were greatly disappointed with the store (Flynn, 1999)

 In this regard, different companies are trying to establish a customer loyalty programs. Loyalty programs – built customer loyalty through other means, more than simply repeat purchase.


Randall White (2002) mentioned, "It was found that the schemes create spurious loyalty and that the issue is much broader than merely accepting repeat purchase as a proxy for customer satisfaction.  Rather it is the conditions and circumstances surrounding the relationship and how it is maintained that were found to be important factors."  It is true for programs offered by Cathay Pacific.  Asia Miles, to the population of target respondents, is a reward program, which simply encourages repeat purchase through rewarding customers on their spending, as over 90% of respondents who have already joined Asia Miles claimed that reason for joining such program is because points and mileage accumulated can be used to redeem free flights. 


Whereas, The Club is offered to inject customer loyalty to existing members, apart from being the Hong Kong's flag carrier, it is also a Hong Kong brand.  Members benefit from privileges such as 24-hour access to the worldwide toll-free Macro Polo Club Service Line, worldwide lounge access, priority check-in and boarding.  By making these privileges explicit, members enjoy superiority, for which Asia Miles and other frequent flyer programs may not be able to offer.  In other words, The Club offers rewards with superiority that triggers the retention of existing customers, and attracts new customers who also love to enjoy those privileges as being loyalty to an airliner. 


            There are many ways in which airline companies gain customer loyalty. One way is by developing an online newsletter. This will keep customers updated of the latest developments in the company, including new products and special offers. The contact details in the site may also be improved by adding information about the profile of an airline industry; in this way, foreign customers can easily contact the company nearest to their location. A customer care section may also be placed in the website where they can easily post or send their queries or concerns. This is a good way of reaching out to customers and showing that the company prioritizes their needs.

According to Homage (1985), this marketing practice is concentrated on the needs of the consumers. In order for this strategy to work, the company should rid its system of communication barriers and open itself to better technologies. This change will be beneficial not only by increasing company sales but also in establishing customer loyalty and better marketing activities (Asker, 2001; Douglas & Craig, 1986).


One of the approaches used by a Hong Kong airline industry as part of in order to ensure customer loyalty is the way it focused attention to the clients, specifically to the executive-class passengers. This bias in focus is ascribed by the frequency of traveling done by the executive class travelers. Accompanying the cost associated with the travel of executive class passengers the magnitude of revenues can be intensified. A simple glimpse of the a HK Airline Website would reveal the master plan of the airline. The business class passengers are focused for special packages upon their choice of traveling with the airline. On each travel stop the business class passenger makes, points are earned that qualify the passenger to various offers and gifts. Incentives to regular executive customers of the airline industry have been responsible for earning the airline customer loyalty. Airline industries gives away holiday packages, travel discounts, and unmatchable indulgence by providing the executive class with Chauffeur drivers, Express rail tickets during international travel and hotel vouchers and what not. Besides the executive class, regular customers too are catered with an exceptional level of care.

The operations of management at these airline industries has assures fresh and rich food to be stocked and served to passengers while they are onboard the flights. The decision taken by the budgeting department to restructure and cutting on fuel costs have helped airline industry focus intensely on the quality of services provided onboard to maintain a positive repute amongst the customers and to achieve customer loyalty.

The marketing strategy pf HK airline is complete customer orientation. The company seeks to cater each of the varied type of customers. The airline has initiated routes to a wide range of destinations all around the globe with main focus on flights from the HK to other parts of the world. Backing a network of destinations are the competitive tariffs hosted by airline industries.

 Another customer loyalty program requires from HK airline company is to setup a global electronic network to bring the services closer to the target customers of the airline. A 24-hour customer support group corresponds to customer queries. Online ticket reservation and flight schedules open up a great domain of options available to the prospective travelers.

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