FLO brings benefits to airport security

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FLO Corp. is now offering two membership benefits programs to boost customer satisfaction with its Registered Traveler (RT) services.

The company's Gold Ambassador membership card and Platinum Ambassador card provide discounts, identity theft protection, concierge services and other targeted rewards for members. FLO cards allow members to access all airport RT lanes — airport security lanes that use biometrics, such as iris scans, to expedite check-in — across the country.

“The guts of the RT program has been to provide a predictable, smooth experience at airports,” explained Luke Thomas, EVP of FLO. “FLO's model, from the beginning, has been to basically build upon that nice benefit at the checkpoint with all these other benefits that relate to the door-to-door travel experience: we have a mortgage benefit built in with a mortgage concierge on a non-commission basis, which has nothing to do with travel but fits our demographic pretty well; we offer golf club rental that matches the business traveler quite a bit, so we try to make a nice mix of benefits that would relate to our members.”

FLO members are typically business travelers, making five to seven trips a year. The company depends largely on its partner network of travel agencies and other travel-related companies to promote its service. Garber/FCm Travel Solutions — a corporate, leisure and meeting services agency — just signed an alliance with FLO, and Hilton Hotels is allowing HHonors members to redeem points for annual FLO memberships.

“We're not a ‘build it and they will come' company,” Thomas said. “We work on a more mature, existing, defined travel procurement channel.”

Gold Ambassador cards for FLO cost $100 annually, while Platinum Ambassador cards — which offer more benefits — cost $200. Thomas pointed out that many customers come from corporate deals, wherein a company reimburses employees for membership fees. He said the FLO service, and the added benefits, work as a retention tool for companies in highly competitive industries. Shorter wait time in airports also makes for more productive employees.

Thomas would not divulge specific goals for the company's future, but he said FLO was currently working through 150,000 corporate commitments; once a company has committed, FLO has to perform in-person enrollment to collect biometrics information. He also pointed out that only one airport offered RT in January 2007, and now 19 airports are committed to the service.

As for the current strife in the air travel industry, Thomas said, “We are a customer service tool that touches the airlines' best passengers. I think we're a very important part of the customer service experience, and there's so much pressure on the traveler from canceled flights and passengers' rights that it's nice to offer a customer service that improves the whole travel experience.”

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