Banking Innovation of the Month: Vitality Travel by Discovery Bank

Publish date: 07 August 2023
Theme : Innovation

Qorus-Accenture’s Banking Innovation of the Month award for June goes to Discovery Bank’s Vitality Travel, a comprehensive end-to-end travel offering which gives clients access to unparalleled travel discounts and experiences, while encouraging responsible financial and lifestyle choices.

Post-pandemic demand for travel is soaring, and so are prices. What’s more, the complexity of the booking process, time-consuming research, and dealing with multiple booking platforms and providers can make planning travel a hassle. 

South Africa’s Discovery Bank has stepped in to offer its clients both savings and simplicity with the Vitality Travel booking platform, leveraging the bank’s secure payments infrastructure, advanced digital platforms and ability to rapidly integrate with third-party platforms. Discovery clients can now seamlessly book domestic and international flights, accommodation, car hire and other travel experiences directly through the bank’s app and website, with extensive personalized discounts and rewards unlocked by their engagement with the Vitality program. 

Unlike traditional loyalty programs which tend to be based on product consumption, Vitality rewards clients for healthy financial and lifestyle behaviors. Already integrated across the Discovery Group’s banking and insurance services, the Vitality behavioral change program is at the heart of the Group’s shared value model: the cost savings that result from lower risk profiles are returned to the client in the form of rewards and discounts. Extending this incentive system to Vitality Travel empowers clients to control their personalized travel savings through their ongoing physical and financial behaviors, making travel more affordable while resulting in lower default rates for the bank.

With discounts of up to 75% on flights and 25% on car hire and accommodation through a wide network of partners, the booking platform has already proven a big hit with clients. The rewards don’t stop there: clients and their travel companions can enjoy exclusive pre-flight experiences and conveniences, including dedicated fast-tracked clearance through departure security and luxurious airport lounges at major South African airports, and 24/7 access to travel itineraries, real-time forex conversions, certified letters and statements for visa purposes, and automatic travel insurance issued on all international flight bookings.

Since its launch in 2022, Vitality Travel has rapidly become a preferred platform for travel bookings in South Africa. As of May 2023, the total number of local and international flights booked exceeded 752,000, with flights to 770 different destinations, and average customer savings of almost 30% compared with bookings through other platforms. Over 141,000 access vouchers were generated for Vitality’s airport lounges, and clients enjoyed a cumulative 47,000 nights of discounted accommodation and made 35,000 discounted car hire bookings. Total travel spend through the Vitality Travel platform has surpassed ZAR 1.4 billion (€69 million), driven by increased day-to-day engagement with Discovery Bank debit and credit cards. 

Vitality Travel is a clear example of a digital bank overcoming traditional financial boundaries and looking for new revenue streams by offering new services and experiences, underpinned by Discovery’s pioneering behavior-based rewards program which creates value for both client and institution. Congratulations to Discovery Bank on winning this month’s award! (Qorus members can read the case study)

Santander’s innovation will be automatically selected as a nominee for the Qorus-Accenture Banking Innovation Awards 2023. Submit your innovations on the Banking Innovation portal until 13th September. Participation is free of charge and open to all Qorus members.