One client wanted a party organized at TWG and requested that only white teacups be used. Another wanted help getting tickets for him and his son to watch a Wimbledon match. Yet another wanted access to a private golf course abroad.
These are just some of the unique experiences that Filipinos of a certain net worth are willing to pay for and gain access to, using the Ayala Rewards Circle card of the Ayala group, said to be the country’s first and only multi-industry appreciation program designed for the Ayala group’s most valued clients.
The membership-only loyalty program was conceived five years ago during a discussion that Ayala Corp. vice chair Fernando Zobel had with some key executives. He observed then that some of the companies within the Ayala group had separate lists of preferred clients as well as special perks under each company.
Globe Telecom had its platinum clients, Bank of the Philippine Islands had its preferred depositors, Ayala Land had its own circle of high net worth individuals, same with AC Automotive.
Zobel expressed then that these are all valued clients, so how will Ayala make them feel more special and enjoy a more seamless experience under the Ayala brand, such that say Globe Platinum clients can use the preferred lane at BPI and Ayala Land clients can access special promotions of Globe for its platinum clients, and that they can also all access the special customer lounges of Ayala Malls or have special perks with the Ayala Automotive group?
The response to these questions led to the conceptualization and eventual roll out of the ARC, a conglomerate-wide recognition program that aims to better serve the premium clients of the Ayala group.
Entitled to the ARC card are Honda, Isuzu or Volkswagen clients with at least P1.25 million worth of purchase or a cumulative purchase worth P2 million, bought in the last five years from an Ayala dealership; Ayala Land Premier, Alveo or Avida owners with a purchase worth at least P3 million bought in the last seven years, private or preferred BPI banking client and Globe platinum subscribers with a plan worth at least P3,500 a month.
Perks and privileges include access to 24/7 domestic and international concierge services, priority handling at BPI branches preferred lanes and select Globe stores, special deals and discounts from Ayala-owned Honda, Isuzu and Volkswagen dealerships, Ayala property promos and exclusive room rates at Ayala Hotels and Resorts. The chat app also provides help with hotel and dining reservations, private dining assistance and car and limousine rental.
ARC was also developed from the insight that it is more important to retain one’s best customers and make the relationship stronger rather than focus solely on winning new ones. The idea is to also go beyond generic perks, realizing that what these clients who can buy practically everything they need want are “delightful” experiences.
There are now 100,000 ARC cardholders and the plan is to bring it up to 200,000 in three years.
Based on the data of the current crop of members, the average age of the majority of the members is 47 years old, with two of five of them married. Most of them are entrepreneurs, members of top management and healthcare professionals. Close to three of five of them are from the National Capital Region.
Data also show that travel and dining are the top two interests of the current ARC members. They want to go out of the country and go on road trips locally. They want to try out new flavors and appreciate a hearty home-cooked spread as well as a quick and easy meal.
These insights led to ARC striking more partnership deals with agencies and establishments that are into travel and food, which are what interests its clients.
Membership is valid for five years and comes with 24/7 concierge service, discounts and freebies here and abroad, and preferential treatment. It is free and available to the top clients across the growing conglomerate.
“At Ayala, our customers are our lifeblood. And we want our most valued clients to enjoy amazing rewards not just with one business, but throughout the entire Ayala group,” says Maria Angelica B. Rapadas, President and General Manager of ARC, “We want our premier customers in particular to feel special and valued in every engagement they have with our companies.”
The challenge is to keep its members “first… always.” This is best manifested in ARC’s Concierge, which can be accessed from here or abroad through multiple channels. The concierge can arrange a member’s travel, hotel and dining reservations as well as bookings to iconic events such as the Singapore Grand Prix, London Fashion Week or the PGA Master’s Tournament.
Project Diamond that led to the ARC was approved in 2012 and the idea was piloted in 2013, wherein premium customers were asked to sample and see if what the card offered was what they wanted and intended to use.
ARC was approved for full implementation in 2014 and in 2015, Ayala Group Club Inc. was launched, including the launch of the mobile application and enhancement of the programs.
2016 marked the start of full-year operations and the beginning of ARC’s social media presence. In 2017, the website was enhanced with the chat facility and more robust offers such as access to special events and even more discounts and freebies.
“We always listen to what our customers want, and our chief concern is to offer them rewards that tie into the things that they truly enjoy and care about,” Rapadas says.
By doing so, what began with a single transaction is hoped to develop into a special as well as profitable relationship between top clients and the Ayala group.