Introducing Aspire Lifestyles: A Leading Global Brand for Loyalty, Concierge and Assistance Solutions

Aspire Lifestyles

VIPdesk  is proud to announce the launch of the new global brand “Aspire Lifestyles”. Aspire Lifestyles is the highly-anticipated strategic merger of several of the world’s premier loyalty, concierge and assistance solutions providers: International SOS’s Worldwide Enhancement business, VIPdesk (USA and UK) and EMSM (Korea).

Drawing upon the collective strength of nearly three decades of loyalty, concierge and assistance heritage, Aspire Lifestyles will provide its clients richly customised services, powered by unmatched technology and delivered by an experienced team of over 900 Concierges & Brand Ambassadors, who speak over 90 languages and dialects, delivering around-the-clock service via 19 Concierge Centres around the globe.

With the largest integrated, directly owned and managed global footprint, Aspire Lifestyles provides over 60 million of our clients’ customers with an unmatched degree of local relevance and global reach. The brand is able to provide complete B2B program support to its client base of financial institutions, insurance, hospitality and loyalty schemes all around the world via an award-winning PCI DSS compliant infrastructure and service delivery platform.

Brian Loo, Group General Manager – Aspire Lifestyles says: “Over the past three years, we have invested heavily in people, processes and technology to create high touch brand experiences. With Aspire, this personalised service enhances the perception of our partners’ brands by going above and beyond their customers’ expectations, forming and building meaningful relationships with them over time.”

Aspire Lifestyles’ PCI-DSS compliant CRM system was awarded the CIO Award in March 2013 by CIO Asia magazine.

To learn more about how Aspire Lifestyles provides impeccable service, visit www.aspirelifestyles.com.

Seven Travel Benefits that Drive Customer Loyalty

travel benefits

According to the Credit Suisse 2012 Global Wealth Report, there are currently 24.2 million millionaires in the world. These are potential customers that can and will spend more with the proven brands to which they are loyal.

In study after study, travel has been shown to be the most important lifestyle category to the affluent customer. In order to successfully engage, therefore, this highly prized demographic, personalized travel services and meaningful benefits must be considered in terms of affluent demographic product design and marketing.

We invite you to join us for “Seven travel benefits that drive customer loyalty”, a webinar presented on February 14, 2013, at 2:00p.m. ET. 

Moderated by VIPdesk and presented in collaboration with BMO Harris Bank, Chubb, Mandarin Oriental, IMG Golf, Luggage Free and International SOS, this webinar will review seven key travel benefits that can make travel easier, worry free, and leave a long-lasting positive impression on your high net worth customers.

Topics covered will include:

  1. Profile of the high net worth customer, their travel patterns, interests and motivation points
  2. Benefits to consider when building a travel-related product
  3. Seven key travel benefits that can make travel easier, worry-free and leave a long-lasting impression on your high-net-worth customers
  4. How to help your customers share their excitement and the benefits they received once their travel experience is over

All webinar registrants will receive a complimentary copy of “Valentines Day Travel Tips…courtesy of your VIPdesk Concierge“.

Space in this webinar is limited to the first 100 registrants.  Register Today!

Concierge Services Offer Improved Retention, Revenue

Concierge Service

This article, written by Loyalty 360′s Phillip Britt, originally appeared in Loyalty Management online.

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Concierge services can help loyalty marketers increase customer retention and increase customer spending Mark Robeson, senior vice president sales and marketing, for VIPdesk said during a Loyalty 360 webinar.

“From the ordinary to the extraordinary, concierge services provide your customers with access to a virtual personal assistant that can provide them with anything, anytime, anywhere, Robeson said, likening the service to a help line or a lifeline for customers.

A concierge service is a mixture of:

  • Services traditionally delivered via a hotel concierge (e.g., dining, transportation)
  • Services traditionally delivered via a personal assistant (e.g., luxury travel planning)
  • Services traditionally delivered via a high-end travel agent (e.g., helping with arrangements on a business trip).

Concierge Service Trends

The worldwide industry market is $1.5 billion, with 60 percent of that in the U.S., though much of the future growth will be in developing markets where people are unaccustomed to having wealth.

The concierge market is expected to grow greatly in the next five years, due to improving per capita disposable income, particularly among households that earn more than $100,000, which is one of the industry’s primary target markets, according to Robeson.

Travel concierge services are popular throughout the U.S. and Europe: A survey conducted in 2010 by Euro Rail on a panel of European Travelers revealed that 41 percent of Italian travelers, for instance, require the presence of concierge services.

A few areas of future growth:

  • As people are living longer, and seniors are more active than they have historically been, there is a need to have services geared towards seniors, Robeson added.
  • Pet owners are another large and growing market that has started a niche concierge market, Pet Concierge.  The numbers speak for themselves: Americans spent $50 million on their pets in 2011, and 69 million U.S. households their homes with one or more pets.

Just as technology has impacted most forms of loyalty marketing, concierge delivery is no exception, according to Robeson. Concierge providers are going mobile via mobile apps and taking to Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.  Some brands, including Starwood, are taking their concierge presence one step further, incorporating the benefits of concierge and overall loyalty programs with social media sites such as Foursquare where users can “check in.”

Foursquare can be viewed as a social concierge delivering ‘insider’ information about local places to guests who often are not familiar with the town—at the very moment they need it, Robeson said.

The initial benefit of a concierge service is that it helps build a relationship between a brand and its customers, Robeson said, pointing to the example of credit card issuers that utilize their concierge service to place welcome calls to new customers.

“These brands know that they have to “hook” their customers within the first 60-90 days of their relationship—after this time it is increasingly difficult to engage the customer.  By using concierge to place welcome calls, and explain benefits that come with the card, there is a proven increase in card spend and retention,” Robeson said.

“Concierge usage, plain and simple, helps drive the actions that are the typical levers of loyalty programs: Acquisition, engagement, spend, and retention,” Robeson added.

According to Visa, when a concierge service as a benefit is marketed to potential customers, the open rate and acceptance rates each increased by 10 percent.

Because concierge service helps build a relationship with customers, and engage them with a brand, the service helps with customer retention and increased acquisition, Robenson said.

In a typical customer service environment, customers have to call one number for assistance with travel, one for information on benefits, another to redeem points, etc. Customers spend a great deal of time on hold, or being transferred from one representative to another.  A concierge service, on the other hand, offers a streamlined customer experience, boosting customer retention.

“Increased spend is something [else] that we have seen with our customers, time and time again,” Robeson said.   “Cardholders who use the concierge service spend more on their card, and renew fee-based products at a higher rate than non-users.

An extra benefit of excellent service, in addition to promoting customer retention, and bringing us back to the very important topic of revenue, is that excellent service increases spend, Robson said.  Consumers — not only affluent consumers but all consumers — are willing to pay more for excellent customer service.

Shopping advice from your Concierge: 5 gift ideas for your pet

Even if you didn’t brave the crowds to do some shopping of your own on Black Friday, it was impossible to escape the shopping craze promoted via TV, radio, print advertisements, marketing emails, online banner ads and even stories (both sad and funny) covered on the local and national news. Even Cyber Monday seemed to be happening on a broader scale than years past.

However whether you plan to go to the store, browse the web or a combination of both, chances are good that you have a list of loved ones that you need to find something special for (and a few items that you covet and plan to gift to yourself). It is a time like this—too many gifts to purchase and too little time to find them—when Concierge services can be of the most help to busy professionals, always on-the-go-parents and those who simply don’t know where on their shopping list to start or what to choose. Nothing compares to the convenience of your own personal shopper.

In order to provide you with a little help with your own holidays shopping, we have collected a few gift ideas from our Concierge, especially designed for the 50% of pet owners with pets at the top of their must-buy list:

Hopefully these tips will save some holiday shopping time.  If you desire help checking off the items on the rest of your shopping list, I recommend that you check with your Concierge to see if they can provide you with personal shopping assistance.

Have fun shopping, but don’t forget…your pets are waiting.

Before you travel this holiday season: review your travel assistance benefit

In a very timely article, given the number of Americans who plan to travel this holiday season, Allie Johnson with CreditCards.com recently wrote a comprehensive article highlighting a very popular benefit that many credit card companies offer to travelers:  Credit card emergency travel assistance.

While not known to many consumers, travel assistance service can be a lifesaver.  But how do you know whether you have a superior (or sub-par) travel assistance benefit?  There are two criteria to keep in mind when reviewing your travel assistance benefits:

  • Scope of Services: Read the fine print. Is everything included in your benefits that should be?
  • Provider Quality: Is the provider of these services really qualified to be your “guardian angel” should you require their assistance?

As you review your benefit documents, you will likely find a myriad of services bundled under the umbrella of “Travel Assistance”.  I like to break these down into five key components:

  1. Travel related assistance. Before, during or after the trip, you can receive help with anything travel related from qualified experts either via phone, online or through a mobile app. This includes assistance with simple pre-trip information such as help selecting the right itinerary, booking your hotels, flights and other transportation, and making dinner and entertainment reservations.
  2. Travel emergency related assistance. During travel anything can happen: lost luggage, stolen wallet, need a taxi or help with lost passport or ticket. In places where you don’t know local customs or language having help via phone or locally can prove invaluable.
  3. Travel medical emergency related assistance. Accidents do happen, so make sure to have the contact information you need at the ready should you need to locate nearest medical practitioner, have someone monitor your medical case and bring you or your loved ones home safely.
  4. Travel legal emergency related assistance. Not knowing local customs can lead to some unusual and sometimes (in hindsight) funny episodes. But when you’re in a middle of it, you need a local legal referral, translation help and bail assistance.
  5. Travel security emergency related assistance. Your vacation destination can quickly turn into a rioting protest zone or a natural disaster area. Having a security expert advise you and help you get home or to a secure location if necessary can be a lifesaver.

To successfully deliver all of those services and provide global access to travel, medical and security experts is a daunting task that very few companies can truly achieve.  In order to ensure that you are covered when and if the time comes, don’t hesitate to ask if your travel assistance provider has:

  • Global presence with capabilities to deliver services locally
  • Full range of experts on staff to offer you advice: doctors, nurses, security experts, travel agents and concierges
  • Multiple access channels: toll-free telephone access (and accepts collect calls if necessary), a comprehensive website, and a mobile app for easy info and referral access
  • Extensive, high-quality worldwide provider networks: No matter where you are, whether you need a limo to pick you up at the airport or a medical facility where you can undergo surgery

Safe travels!  I hope that these tips were helpful: let me know by posting a comment if you thought of others I didn’t include.

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