Marc Ellis is the CEO of Thanks Again which began in 2004 as a marketing services firm offering loyalty and engagement solutions to highly fragmented everyday spend retailers (dry cleaners, day spas, golf courses, etc.) In 2009-2010, Thanks Again re-directed its efforts toward the airport space and is now partnered with more than 100 airports. For every dollar spent, Thanks Again members earn one Thanks Again Point when they shop, park and dine at thousands of local merchants in and around airports nationwide. Your Thanks Again points are integrated with multiple rewards programs and can then be redeemed for travel rewards including cash back, TSA PreCheck, airline miles, hotel points and airport perks. I had the privilege to speak with Marc and hear firsthand how Thanks Again is empowering consumers to maximize their points enabling them to enjoy their travel experience to the fullest! Here’s how it works:
Jay: How does the ‘Thanks Again’ program differ from the typical points that consumers earn on their purchases with various credit card programs?
Marc: The greatest part about the ‘Thanks Again’ program is that everything stays exactly the same. We have just tapped into what’s already in place in a way that will maximize the points you normally receive- here’s how it works. Every credit card has a variety of reward options which give you the ability to earn points or miles with the purchases you make. However, customers are limited to using those points only towards the offerings of that particular card. We’ve created a platform which allows consumers to turn their points into ‘Thanks Again’ points which can be used unilaterally across other credit card offers and miles programs. This way consumers have the ability to accrue points with the cards they already have and be able to cash in on offers from so many other credit cards.
Jay: That sounds like a simple and extremely rewarding concept. Who are your target market consumers?
Marc: One of the refreshing things about ‘Thanks Again’ is that we aren’t limited to any age, style or culture. I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t want to maximize their rewards they’ve earned. Whether its miles for a family vacation, extra points for dining or even just a little extra cash back that they can take advantage of. With ‘Thanks Again’ your options are much broader. So to answer your question exactly- our target consumer is anyone who makes purchases with their credit cards in airports around the world!
Jay: Sounds like a great concept which is giving consumers the ability to maximize their points. Why the focus on the airport/travel industry?
Marc: In 2009/2010, amid the economic crisis, we very intentionally began to transition away from everyday spend retailers like dry cleaners and day spas towards airports. We knew that there were approximately 6+ billion passengers collectively served by airports around the world each year and that the global airport retail market generated about $100 billion in revenue annually. We felt airports provided the perfect “hub” for significant growth and that ‘Thanks Again’s card-linked program was perfectly suited to work well with merchants in these “enclosed retail centers” where it’s inevitable that passengers will shop, park or dine.
Jay: What do you see coming down the road in expanding and growing ‘Thanks Again’?
Marc: Great question Jay, and like every business it’s not about what you’ve done, but what can you continue to do and innovate. We knew when we started ‘Thanks Again’ that our infrastructure was what was going to help us succeed and so we built it originally to handle hundreds of millions of users. We’ve also been able to program the software to work with multiple currencies so purchases made around the world will transfer directly to your account with the exact currency rates. Now that we’ve done that, we’re focused on growing our global partnerships with merchants worldwide and most importantly, making sure our advanced technology is safe and secure. We live in a world where people are comfortable giving their credit cards and personal information to companies like Uber, AirBnB even though they don’t know who they are working with. So it’s extremely important that we keep our infrastructure safe and secure so people can continue to take advantage of our programs absolutely worry free!
Marc has a long history in finance and business dating back to his many years as a New York City investment and corporate banker, however he has always had a dream of entrepreneurship. Living out that dream, Marc is proud co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Thanks Again, LLC. In this role, he has led the brand to become the only global airport coalition CRM, CEM and Passenger Engagement platform with a presence in more than 100 airports worldwide. His efforts are enhancing the overall travel experience for consumers while encouraging more purchasing behavior. Marc oversees a dedicated team of professionals that are working toward the goal of extending the Thanks Again program to every global corner both horizontally to other airports and vertically to other enclosed multi-owner retail concepts like shopping malls, sports arenas and other high traffic public venues.