The Students’ Union have made the decision to withdraw their loyalty card service, which was put in place under last year’s sabbatical team, due to their current financial situation, reports Katie Hughes.
SU President Pat de Brún stated that he was attempting to make the cuts to avoid having to cut frontline services that would have a greater impact on students, “we’re looking for other areas where we can save money; the loyalty card is one area that sprang to my mind because it costs us in the region of €12,000 a year for upkeep and maintenance”.
Following approval from the Union’s Executive Committee, de Brún contacted the company providing the service, 20-20 Insights, in an effort to terminate their contract. “It’s kind of complicated because it’s a three-year agreement that we’re only a year and a half through. It is kind of an unusual situation that we’re in and finances are very tight. I’m hoping that we can reach some kind of an agreement whereby we can leave early”.
De Brún cites the introduction of the U-Card system on campus as further reason to terminate the loyalty card scheme, “with the roll-out of the U-Card on campus, its relevance comes into question and I just don’t think that the cost is justifiable in the light of the U-Card starting … I think [the loyalty card] was a great idea, but now that the U-Card has come on board across campus, potentially the SU shops could just be involved with that as well but that’s a bit further down the line … the option is likely there that we could join that system and it wouldn’t cost us anything”.
The original contract involved a set-up cost last year as, according to de Brún, the loyalty card scheme “was involved with the whole till system of the shops … there’s a lot of software involved and there’s a lot of upkeep with that software, the whole system, the administration of it through our website, that has a cost with it per year”.
De Brún describes the sign-up for the initiative last year as “reasonable”, with approximately 6,000 students registering to the system, though he admits that the number of students using the scheme did not reflect the number that signed up, “people that use it regularly is a lot lower, opportunities for development of it didn’t quite materialise, in that I would have liked to have put drinks tokens on it, I would have like to have put food deals on it, but for a variety of technical reasons some of that wasn’t possible. That’s where I saw the real value of the loyalty card as opposed to just an accumulation of one cent back for every euro spent, which is not a great return”.