For example, Starbucks loyalty program members generated 57 percent of U.S. revenues in Q2 of 2023, and active loyalty membership rose 15 percent year over year, despite the coffeehouse chain diluting loyalty points value and higher than average nationwide inflation rates at that time. This shows that when loyalty members aren’t driven by convenience and price alone, and instead make habitual buying decisions that might defy rational explanation, travel and dining brands will retain CLV through adverse conditions.
Emotional loyalty vs. behavioral loyalty
On the opposing end, behavioral loyalty is loyalty that’s purely driven by repeated transactions, because of convenience incentives like discounts. Emotional loyalty leads to repeated transactions, but it’s driven by emotion-oriented rewards, like belonging, connection and identity.
For example, loyalty to an airline that is driven purely by perks, discounts and points means that “loyal” customers will be less likely to stay loyal during changes in the market and in the long term, over their lifetime.
More than 20 million U.S. travel loyalty members alone faced a status downgrade in 2023, due to COVID-related decreases in travel. In this situation, behavioral loyalty members that were attracted by the discounts and the convenience of their status were willing to switch to whichever airline provided the most convenient or discounted option.