We have a solemn mission at TAP network that transcends making cool new technology that makes your life more fun and convenient. Our mission is to drastically change the playing field, of not just reward systems, but in every sector where consumers/businesses are not getting the value and efficiency they deserve.
The old paradigm is not aligning with the wants and needs of a new generation of consumers and end users, who crave the “experience lifestyle”. In fact, the original intent of customer loyalty programs was to lock consumers into one brand even if that brand was not giving the consumer/business the best value. There is nothing wrong with incentivizing loyalty to a brand; it becomes a problem when brands give nothing of value back or the illusion of value. In other words, both the consumer/end user and the brand should be getting maximum value and something out of any initiative or program. That applies just as much to reward systems as it does to social spending programs. If someone’s best interest is not being served in the current paradigm then something must change.
Recently The New York Times put out an article that highlights innovators and disrupters, in the travel industry (Hooch included), that believe the current paradigm is not creating win-win situations. It is not just that the rewards are minimal or ask a $100 worth of opportunity cost for $1 of value. As our CEO, Lin Dai, points out, it goes way beyond that with “A frequent lack of flexibility and transparency about the value of loyalty points...” When Mr. Dai says a lack of transparency, he is talking about certain programs that sell your personal data that you entrusted the company with (but it not just limited to this example). One example of this is: you sign up for a rewards program, and then, they sell your sign up and use data to a third-party analytics company in India. Although many countries have laws against selling personal data without a person’s knowledge, in some places, companies can sell your data because they say they do just that in the fine print, or they just plain break the law. TAP network always gets informed consent and makes it clear what our terms and conditions are. For example, earning TAP through our Hooch app is easy and transparent: if you dine at the places with the TAP icon on the venue list , you will earn 5 percent in TAP back. There is no secret fine print where we stick in horrid terms and conditions. We keep it simple for the benefit of everyone.
Even when programs do not sell your data or their rules and policies are not opaque, they do not care about saving the end user money or giving them maximum return on earned points. Lin Dai states, “There’s a traditional thinking in the loyalty industry that when consumers are spending points, it’s O.K. to charge them full price because it’s like monopoly money to the consumer.” This is especially egregious when you have programs where you must do extensive amounts of work to earn minimal points like in the previous $100 worth of opportunity cost for $1 worth of value example. Certain companies believe since loyalty points are essentially like found money, they do not have to provide a good deal to the consumer/end user using those points. Hooch uses maximum bargaining power to always get our users the best deals on hotels and restaurants, and with TAP network, companies and publishers can rest assured they are not throwing ad dollars into a blackhole (i.e. people will see and click your ads instead of ignoring them.)
The new breed of players in The New York Times article are all contributing to changing the current paradigm. However, I am proud to say, that TAP network, with the Hooch app, is attacking all the outlined problems. We offer savings and deals that meet the changing needs of millennials and Gen Zs, we are transparent thus what you see is what you get, and we structure everything so the end user (whether that is a consumer, brand, or publisher) gets maximum value for what they put in.
With hard work and a campaign of awareness, the companies highlighted in the article will be able to effect change in not just the loyalty industry but in how the consumer and end user is treated generally in many industries. Companies and organizations that cannot or will not create situations where everyone wins, will not be able to exist anymore because customers will go elsewhere.
Check out the article here: The New York Times