One of the largest education, member-driven organizations in the western U.S. approached Access to help them augment their member retention and engagement strategies. As operator of the nation’s largest private discount platform, Access was positioned to help the Association by launching a private labeled discount program for the Association’s 300,000 members. The Access platform is unique in its power to provide compelling discounts on everyday purchases at over 1 million popular restaurants, retailers, and travel providers worldwide. These discounts deliver meaningful consumer value known to help organizations boost member retention, acquisition, and engagement.
From the beginning, the Association entered into an agreement with Access, and it was agreed that overall success would be measured by specific member utilization metrics. However, the key to meeting those objectives was to establish a close and trusting partnership between the Association and Access.
It’s true that discounts have a near universal consumer appeal. After all, why else would virtually every retailer offer some type of discount as a tool to attract new customers and drive their bottom-line revenue? Yet not all discount programs are the same. While discounts at online retailers have their place, only discount programs that offer both online AND in-store discounts are truly relevant to consumers. That’s because consumers spend 85% of their disposable income at brick-and-mortar stores (U.S. Census). Which makes those discounts at popular, local retailers particularly compelling when it comes to keeping members engaged over time.
From a member’s perspective, these members-only discounts are a significant membership benefit. When used regularly, members can save hundreds—if not thousands— of dollars on their everyday purchases. These savings can help members offset their annual membership dues, thereby generating goodwill and higher perceived value for the organization.
History of Key Performance Indicators
Upon launching the program, Access set aggressive KPIs related to registration and usage of the program. During this initial three-year contract period, enrollments were three times the initial goal. Members also saved an estimated $7 million at local restaurants and retailers.
Seeing the success achieved during the first three-year contract period, the Association surveyed its members and discovered great interest in travel discounts. For the second contract period, the Access travel and activities module was implemented, offering deep discounts on hotels, car rentals, airfare, theme park tickets, and destination activities. Access and the Association set aggressive usage goals, but the goals were conditioned upon a series of omni-channel marketing executions.
The Access Solution
Despite big marketing plans, the pandemic forced the suspension of all travel-related promotional executions for nearly a year. Once travel bans were lifted and the travel demand slowly returned, Access and the Association launched a gradual and thoughtful
return to actively promoting travel. Seeing an opportunity, the Association agreed to implement all of Access’ recommended marketing executions. They included:
- Weekly and seasonal email campaigns.
- Prime real estate dedicated to featured banners on the Association’s website.
- Toolkits, guides, and other free marketing assets promoting travel discounts through a self-service Client Marketing Portal (CMP).
- Leadership communication at each school/district, reaching teachers, instructors, and support professionals with compelling travel and theme park offers.
- In-school training at the beginning of each school year, providing heightened awareness about the new travel benefits.
- Disneyland ticket/gift card giveaways at the Association’s annual conferences
Despite the pandemic forcing significant disruptions, delays and cancelations of marketing plans, Access was still able to achieve the following results:
- Member registration goal was more than doubled, with over 107,000 total registrations.
- Total travel bookings exceeded the original goal by 134%.
- Theme park ticket purchases reached 172% of the stated goal.
- Total amount of money saved was 146% of the goal.
One of Access’ ongoing objectives is to provide compelling discounts to the Association’s members. Access delivered an average discount of 31% off per offer across all savings categories. Without that ongoing value, members are less likely to remain engaged.
- Email was a crucial component toward boosting member enrollment, usage, and engagement. Emails to registered users delivered open rates averaging 50% or better, and click-through rates of more than 20% – both metrics are well above the industry standards. Emails sent to unregistered members also performed well, with open rates above 25%.
- Targeted promotions and banner placements on the Association’s website was key to raising awareness, and driving usage/engagement.
- Access and the Association used data driven strategies to customize specific promotions aimed at growing program adoption and utilization. For example, ongoing member surveys served not only to inspire new members to register, but it also contributed to the program’s overall quality by generating valuable feedback.
From the Client
“Thanks to Access, our educators can better afford to go on well-deserved vacations, shop for their own kids, acquire discounted school supplies, take a night off from cooking, and basically keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. Access has been a tremendous partner that does more than deliver the best discounts. They clearly care – about us, our mission and the well-being of our membership.” — Association Executive