Hailo targets brand tie-ups to ‘win in London’

Taxi app Hailo has targeted a number of high profile brand partnerships in the next phase of its strategy to “win London” through business users, according to chief marketing officer Gary Bramall.

Speaking to The Drum, Bramall said it follows from activity tested in Spain throughout December. There, it became the exclusive taxi service for thousands of smaller hotels, restaurants and clubs hosting Christmas lunches or dinners for companies.

Bramall declined to name specific brands it is eyeing in London, as some contracts had yet to be signed, but explained they are as high profile as Harrods and Citizen M Hotels. It forged tie-ups with the two last year for the launch of ‘Hailo Hubs’ – a service which allows multiple bookings for clients, guests and customers.

He said the activity is a “knitting together” of its push within the business sector and with general consumers.

“With those brand partnerships we’re looking to drive acquisition and retention with the existing [consumer] base as well with our business accounts to win London,” he said.

To raise awareness, Bramall is planning a wave of activity which will kick off around Valentine’s Day. It will not include TV but will be predominantly social based with, potentially, some out of home.

This latest push follows a year which saw Hailo achieve double digit growth in the city through a number of initiatives, including Pay with Hailo and a driver loyalty app.

The Priority Driver Scheme rolled out in December last year to better establish a connection and loyalty among its drivers. Those who complete three peak-time jobs in one day (defined as a taxi run between 6am-10am and/or 5pm-midnight) will the next day be given access to off peak work, jobs which are on their route home from work, fuel discounts and car washes.

Bramall lauded the scheme as successful and said in the coming months he expects to thoroughly review frequency of engagement, the communication and the incentives on offer.

Meanwhile Pay with Hailo harnesses beacon technology to alert passengers via push notifications when they are able to pay a driver via the Hailo app. The technology was implemented across its 14,000 strong fleet of cars.

Bramall revealed it has seen triple digit growth in its adoption and has begun working on what the next phase of it will look like, with planned updates in the coming months.

“It’s a project we’ve garnered quite a lot of tech praise for and we’re leveraging. Not many people are using iBeacons in service so it’s a nice marketing moment,” he said.

Bramall added that it has also helped the brand establish trust with consumers as a “high percentage” now save credit card details on the app rather than inputting for individual journeys.

“It obviously makes our service better but there’s a lot of trust there,” he continued.

Bramall revealed a consumer loyalty app is on the cards as it continues to build on this brand trust but he wants to ensure the driver-side supply is firmly established using the Priority Driver Scheme before it embarks on a consumer-side venture.

“Doing big loyalty schemes requires a lot of work. We’re focused on driving growth, but we need to match our demand to our supply. So we need to make sure our supply is in the best shape it can be and later on in the year we’ll be potentially looking at passenger schemes,” he explained.

The sector continues to be disrupted by arguments between traditional black cab drivers and the likes of Uber over tighter regulations. At the moment, Bramall said “things don’t seem to move very quickly” but that Hailo is happy “working within the rules”.

“Since the New Year, we haven’t seen any specific changes within London. I know that there are certain people trying to push for certain things. We’re working with all of the policy makers, with TfL, and making sure we’re playing by all of the rules. We think it’s important for our customers and our cities to do that,” he said.

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