CEO Blog

Loyalty & Awards – a personal review

Written by Ravindra Bhagwanani on . Posted in CEO Blog


With Loyalty & Awards now safely behind us and all delegates returned from Paris, it is time for a – very personal – review on the event, which did represent a certain management challenge for a medium-sized organisation like ours.

Regular readers of my blogs might have noticed a sharply declined frequency of blogs over the past six months. The reason for that is simple: While I do enjoy writing blogs or any other sort of articles (I’ve actually worked as a journalist during my last years at high school since I was a bit bored at school…), it is usually nothing that enjoys a high priority since I don’t make my living from that.

And time was indeed the one thing I was lacking most in recent months, as a result of our decision to take over the organisation of our annual loyalty event on our own. While we were the leading force behind the event with two different partners over the past 15 years, it also meant that we now had to assume many more operational tasks we were never involved in before while giving new spice to the event.

It was great work by our new team and the feedback we got after the event was just impressive and showed us that we’ve apparently got things right – just two examples representative for many others:

“Loyalty & Awards Conference 2019 in Paris was a great opportunity to discuss with the global industry leaders about latest technology, best practices and strategic approach to loyalty. It was also a great place to meet with both technology providers and loyalty program owners globally. Thanks to Global Flight for organising such a great conference.”
(Onur Dedeköylü, Senior Vice President – Marketing & e-commerce, Pegasus Airlines)

“Really enjoyed the event and well put together and run! Great to connect with so many loyalty experts, industry friends old and now new, a privilege.”
(Richard Moore, Director of Partnerships, Virgin Group Loyalty Company)

For me personally, success is defined on such feedback rather than on any numbers, which might have a meaning for the organiser, but not for the community.

But what impressed me – and many first-time visitors – most is the fact that our event really manages to create that community spirit. Presenters speak very frankly about their issues, everybody talks to everybody and nobody feels left out. While there are other commercial loyalty events out there, this is something you will hardly find anywhere else and which can’t be copied. Being part of the loyalty world ourselves – rather than just a conference organiser -, our only focus is to create value for the community because all the rest follows automatically.

When I attend other events, I have very clear expectations upon them, which are not different from anyone else: meeting the right people, hearing insightful content and generating interesting business leads, which we manage to convert afterwards. These are the basics we were focusing on when putting together the event since such expectations are obviously fully justified and understandable – although they are too often not met for me at other events.

But never on earth I would have had the idea to take a gift with me for the conference organiser. So, if some delegates attending our event actually do have such reflex, it just shows that the recognition and rewards DNA of our industry is well anchored in the mindset of many people – but also that our event creates something, which do make it unique. As successful frequent traveller programs are run by people understanding actually the life of a frequent traveller, a successful travel loyalty conference might need to be run by somebody not only understanding loyalty, but also living it every day of his life.

We’ve taken a certain entrepreneurial risk by doing it our own way. Now I can only acknowledge and be thankful for realising that the market seems to have waited exactly for that and has fully validated our decision. The only personal regret I am having is probably not to have gone that step before. So really a very honest and warm thank you to each individual delegate having made it to Paris since each of you contributed to the success and quality of it.

And for anyone regretting not to have been able to make it (or who was simply hesitating and doubting that we’d actually be able to deliver), Loyalty & Awards 2020 will be coming. Watch the space at!

In the meantime, please attend as many other loyalty events as possible and you will love even more the unique experience at Loyalty & Awards!