As loyalty marketers, we have to embrace voice. But it has to compliment the brand experience we have already built for our customers through all the other digital channels.
As we pondered this here at Persuade, it really came down to a simple idea: we wish our apps talked to each other.
As stewards of our loyalty programs we know we have to react to the explosion of Alexa, Google Home and their competitors.
According to Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report, Amazon Echo adoption grew from less than 5MM installed bases in 2016 to over 30MM installed bases at the end of 2017. There were less than a 1,000 Amazon skills in 2015 and there are over 30,000 skills today. 
We’ve seen hotels like the Wyn struggle with Alexa adoption by first installing them into all of their hotel rooms and then realizing that most travelers aren’t keen to login to an Alexa that they are only going to be using for a few nights. Hotels have worked with Amazon to pivot to an anonymous state that will allow Alexa’s to order restaurant service when on the road and charge you the same as for room service. 
While that’s cool, that’s not really what we want for the programs we manage and admire. We want white glove treatment, exclusive perks and that feeling that we’re known and that we are special while we are interacting with these devices, just as we know we’ll be treated when we flash our elite status card at the front counter.
So we compiled a list of things we wish Alexa and Google Home would do. We hope we get the chance to do it for our Clients or inspire someone else to do it. And its all based on the original premise: apps talking to each other.
When I check into the lounge at the airport, I’m anxiously checking my app as boarding time approaches to see if the flight is going to be delayed and therefore, I should hang in the lounge a little bit longer.
When my flight is delayed, I wish Google would call my car service automatically and let them know I’m going to be late.
When my flight is cancelled, I wish my Alexa would automatically detect and extend my stay in my hotel room.
If I have a meeting at 11 and it’s raining, my hotel app should call the front desk of the hotel and make sure there’s an umbrella for me to borrow on my way out the door.
What’s standing in the way of this happening?
First of all, this isn’t a limitation of the device. Google, Alexa and the rest allow developers to build pretty much anything they want their applications to do. This is a limitation of apps themselves. Great loyalty programs are (in part) about partnerships.
The fact that I can earn Uber Credits by using my American Express card is great, but American Express and Uber should extend that partnership to give their customers a fluid in app experience as well. This could be anything from login to being able to use either app to notify you where the lounge is when you land. 
Take our 3rd item on the wish list, Delta has a partnership with AirBnB. As part of their program, allow their developers to connect their apps together to notify the host that the guest’s flight has been cancelled so they can do their best to re-accomodate them. 
Ultimately our dream could be made possible by better partnerships within our loyalty programs.
If you want ideas for partnerships for your loyalty program - give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612.230.1452