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Research professional Gary Toyn has long investigated the challenges faced by organizations across the membership spectrum. In today's post, Gary turns his attention to the central question of member expectations - and how recent data suggests a growing perception gap among the membership organizations that serve them.

At Access, we frequently consult with clients and prospective clients who are seeking to boost member engagement and retention. In the course of those interactions we see a surprising gap between organizational leaders and their members. Frequently, the misalignment that exists is due to a lack of understanding of what today’s members really want from their affiliation.

In many cases, leaders of organizations have never asked members what they need or want, nor have they asked what types of services and benefits members expect. Some leaders rely on guesswork or assumptions in identifying their member’s needs, and others simply ignore member feedback altogether.  We see this happen far too often.

Posted by Kendra Lusty on Jun 21, 2018 10:10:17 AM

This is the API that Access built.

This is the data that’s easier to share
Because of the API that Access built.

This is the member who is saving today
Thanks to the data that’s easier to share
Because of the API that Access built.

This is the client enjoying the loyalty
Of the happy member who is saving today
Thanks to the data that’s easier to share
Because of the API that Access built.

This is the website (with exclusive deals)
Run by the client enjoying the loyalty
Of the happy member who is saving today
Thanks to the data that’s easier to share
Because of the API that Access built.

This is the coupon with the unique code
Found on the website (with exclusive deals)
Run by the client enjoying the loyalty
Of the happy member who is saving today
Thanks to the data that’s easier to share
Because of the API that Access built.

Ray Bradbury – author of the space travel and colonization classic The Martian Chronicles – once wrote, “Half of the fun of travel is the aesthetic of lostness.”

What did Mr. Bradbury mean when he penned this now famous quote? We may never know.

Don’t get the wrong idea, of course. We totally get the part about travel being extra rewarding when people get far off the beaten path into new places they didn't even know existed. (Duh.)

What civilization will always wonder is this. Did he mean “half” in the general sense, as in give or take a third? Or “half” in the 50% sense, where if he’d meant 51 percent, he’d have said 51 percent?

Whatever the math behind Ray’s statistical calculations, one thing we know for sure…

People looooooove to travel.

Families and individuals of all ages, sizes and incomes. To faraway lands. For weekend getaways. To pursue new business deals. With kids. Without kids. On planes, trains, automobiles, boats and buses.

And when it comes to customer loyalty programs and member engagement, travel benefits are often among the most hotly pursued. Why? Because lots of money AND emotional expectation are wrapped up in most of our travel purchase decisions.

So to better understand today’s traveler, we at Access have compiled what we believe is a comprehensive “ultimate collection” of statistics having to do with the travel and tourism industry. We've tried to make this list as relevant as possible, which means we combed through recent research from travel and tourism related sources.

Most of these stats are focused on Americans who travel – though other nationalities may creep into the mix from time to time. We've provided source links for each statistic. Sometimes you’ll find the data conflicts with other sources - so we’ll leave it up to you to decipher which is most accurate.

We'll keep this list updated regularly with the latest and greatest. If you know of a stat we're missing, or want your own research included in our collection, leave us a note in the comments. Enjoy!

Posted by Andrew Graft on May 21, 2018 1:51:16 PM

Those of us here at Access like to think of our little corner of the world as the happiest place on earth.

Singing, dancing, group hugs...you know, the kind of behavior you'd expect from the people at America's largest discount network

Last week we made a strong suggestion that companies get rid of all their customers - and replace them with members.

A customer is someone who buys something. A member is someone who belongs to something.

We should all aim to have members, even if we don't have a formal membership structure. Members, in this sense, are customers who have developed a deeper, ongoing relationship with your product or brand.

These relationships don’t happen by accident. Some brands can develop deep cult followings, but not all of us can be Apple or Starbucks.

We can however, borrow specific tactics from membership groups designed to build engagement and long-term loyalty.

Start small. Try any of these 17 engagement tactics used by some of the largest membership organizations in the world.

(New: Only want the latest data? Check out our collection of 2017 loyalty stats.)

Customer brand loyalty is a rich and complex subject to grasp. 

What is it? (Here's a definition.)

How is it earned?

Is it worth the effort?

For your convenience, we've compiled dozens of statistics to help light the way - from how many people are active in loyalty programs to what they're looking to get out of them and how they'd like to be communicated with.

We've tried to make this list as relevant as possible, which means we combed through recent research with a focus on the US (with the occasional global stat thrown in).

These stats are culled from a variety of sources, and we've provided source links for each of them (though some are gateway pages that require you to register or submit your information to receive the actual research).

Sometimes the data conflict with other sources - we'll leave it up to you to decipher which is most accurate.

We'll keep this list updated on a weekly basis with the latest and greatest. If you know of a stat we're missing, or want your own research included in our collection, leave us a note in the comments.