- Disney partnered with social movie ticketing app Atom Tickets to let customers link their Disney Movie Rewards membership with Atom Rewards. The deal means that Atom Rewards members can automatically earn points for eligible Disney ticket purchases, according to a company announcement.
- To promote the partnership and mark the release of Disney' "Ralph Breaks the Internet" movie, Atom is offering 50 bonus points to Disney Movie Rewards members who link their accounts. In addition to special offers, customers who link their accounts will receive 50 Disney Movie Rewards bonus points for every 2D ticket purchase and 75 Disney Movie Rewards bonus points for every premium ticket buy.
- Disney's loyalty program includes Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm releases. Atom Tickets is backed by Disney, Lionsgate, Twentieth Century Fox Film and Fidelity Management.
Disney and Atom Tickets are among the growing number of companies adding app functionality to their customer loyalty programs. The mobile apps help customers avoid cluttering their keyrings, wallets and pocketbooks with scannable plastic cards, and provide more transparency on how many points they've accumulated for making repeat purchases. In addition, loyal customers can program their smartphones to receive alerts, including notifications about special offers and discounts, that urge greater engagement with a brand.
Mobile optimization is a key part of engaging customers with a loyalty program, according to researcher Gartner L2. Integrating loyalty programs into branded apps also opens the possibility of linking rewards to mobile wallets. Brands are beginning to recognize the need to diversify rewards with more than simple financial benefits like discounts, with 61% of brands this year offering experiential rewards and monetary benefits, compared to 47% in 2017, Gartner L2 found.
However, loyalty programs present some challenges for brands. Less than half of loyalty members in Europe, Latin America and North America report satisfaction with their programs, according to a survey from Bond Brand Loyalty cited by eMarketer. Grocery, credit card, dining, gas and hotel cards had the best satisfaction rankings. Hotel chain Hilton, which has 71 million members in its program, said its mobile app is the key way to connect with rewards members and collect guest data that help the hotel chain to understand their needs.
Loyalty programs have existed for years in the airline and hotel industries to strengthen ties with customers, and the restaurant industry also is getting on board with memberships supported by mobile apps. Chipotle, Starbucks, Domino's and Pizza Hut are among the companies that are either testing loyalty programs or have expanded them in recent years. Convenience chain 7-Eleven last year upgraded its program to let customers spend their accumulated points on a wider range of products, rather than offering a free beverage for every six cups purchased.