Vistara’s enrolment in Tata Group’s super app Tata Neu will take time as both the entities are working on a model on how a passenger’s loyalty points can be used on the other, the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer Deepak Rajawat said.
Tata Neu, which was launched on April 7, gives loyalty points “Neu” to its customers for every purchase done on the app. Similarly, Vistara has a frequent flyer programme called “Club Vistara” and it gives “CV points” to its passengers for every purchase done in its ecosystem.
Tata Group’s AirAsia India is already on Tata Neu. However, the group’s other three airlines — Vistara, Air India and Air India Express — have not joined Tata Neu as yet.
Last week, Air India applied with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to merge AirAsia India with itself. It is not clear if and when Vistara and Air India will be merged. However, Club Vistara is here to stay, he said.
On whether Neu points could be used to buy tickets on Vistara or if CV points could be used to buy products on the Tata Neu app, Rajawat told PTI, “Our model is not finalised yet.” “Tata group companies that are giving these (Neu) points and how it will burn on Vistara (to buy air tickets) is something we are working on,” he added.
Tata group had on April 7 launched its super app, Tata Neu, bringing all its brands to one platform as it seeks to play a major role in the Indian e-commerce space currently dominated by the likes of Amazon and Flipkart.
Rajawat told PTI, “Most of the major brand companies like Vistara and Titan are working closely to come to a stage of enrolling on that platform (Neu app).”
When asked by when Vistara will be part of Tata Neu, he said, “We are working but it will take time because the system integration and those (other) things have to take place.”
In September 2019, Club Vistara had about 1.6 million (one million = 10 lakh) members. Club Vistara touched the three million mark in the last month, Rajawat said.
“In the last two years, we wanted to grow to five million at least but because of the slowdown in travel during the last 18-24 months, the numbers are not that high. Plus, we have deferred our growth also,” he mentioned. The airline plans to double the number of Club Vistara members in the next few years, he noted.
Vistara’s partnership with five airlines — United Airlines, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Canada and Singapore Airlines — gives an “earn-and-burn” facility to frequent flyer program members, he mentioned.
Earn-and-burn means frequent flyer program members of the two partner airlines can earn the points while travelling on any of the two carriers and use the points to buy tickets on any of the two airlines.
Apart from the aforementioned five airlines, Club Vistara is currently in partnership with 35 non-aviation companies that are in segments such as car rental, retail, health, dining and hotels.
When asked if Vistara has set an aim about the number of companies that it wants to partner with by 2025-end for Club Vistara, he said, “We do not want to work on a target that this X number of partners we want.” “We want to keep the program in a way that suits the requirements of the members. We keep researching what the customer needs…and we constantly rework the benefits that we offer,” he added.
“Targeting 100 or 200 partners — that is not the game we are looking at. We want to keep it a very niche product and work on that,” he mentioned. When asked what steps will make Club Vistara a lifestyle programme, he said, “Once we go international, there is far more attractiveness that comes in. Today, Vistara’s 80% operations are domestic and only the remaining 20% are international.”
Once Vistara grows its footprints globally — like how people can book tickets on the airline’s flights to London, Paris and Frankfurt right now — the attractiveness of the frequent flyer programme will increase, he mentioned.
“We are working to develop non-air partnerships this year…We are focusing on that,” he noted. There are four tiers in Club Vistara comprising Base, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Customers who belong to the Gold and Platinum category get a separate customer service helpline, which is managed by Praxis Services Private Limited.
On the question of whether the airline plans to make any changes in its customer service system for Platinum or Gold Club Vistara Members, he said, “No, I don’t think so. We are happy with the changes that we have brought along with Praxis. Of course, there is always a scope for improvement that we will try and do.”
“We intend to reduce the waiting time for the calls even when there are high volumes. We want to give them an experience where they can call up easily and get through. That is why we have a dedicated separate call centre for premium customers,” he mentioned.
Tata Group took control of Air India and Air India Express on January 27 after successfully winning the bid for the airline on October 8, 2021.