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We’re hardly out of the woods with COVID-19, and that means many properties will have to make do with a customer base mostly derived from local leisure, staycations and workcations from drive-to markets. With fewer overall guests, outside of cost savings efforts we must simultaneously look at maximizing the revenue per available guest (RevPAG), and there’s no better way to go about this than by sharpening your use of the PMS.

This is the last issue of Siegel Sez before this year’s CYBER HITEC event. HITEC is an event I have not missed in 30 years, and historically it has always been a great place to find innovation.

Toxicity Kills
Posted: 10/07/2020

It doesn’t matter if it is toxins in your physical environment or toxins in your mental environment. This stuff kills! 

It’s said that when someone’s mindset shifts, everything around them can change at the same time, and in our current setting, the importance of being in the right headspace, both personally and as an organization, can’t be discussed enough.

In my last installment, I introduced four areas of hospitality technology that I believe have been significantly changed by COVID-19. I covered contactless technologies in depth in that first article. This week I will turn to the other three areas: social distancing; health and sanitation; and communications.



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Loyalty – Do your Travel Providers Have What It Takes?

02/10/2015
by Michael Schubach

One of the biggest hooks in travel and tourism is the loyalty program. It’s a godsend to a modern marketing department that understands that nothing fuels the love a consumer feels for the consumed like something for nothing.

Loyalty-based marketing is a sure winner based on the universal principles of personal greed and self-serving gratification. The basic idea is to give people a reward for doing things they were going to do anyway – like travel, eat, drink and sleep. Rewards bring pleasure and frankly, our primal brains are suckers for pleasure. The marketing department has learned the lesson taught by famed behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner and his little rodent buddies: light up the brain’s pleasure center and the rats in the box will pump that revenue lever until their little paws fall off. 

So are you hooked?
 
It may seem like a no-brainer but there is a lot of yin and yang about loyalty programs that I’d really like to explore for Hospitality Upgrade. First, I’m curious about how loyalty club members travel with reward cards. Is it a casual thing for you, a nice-but-no-big-deal perk?  Or is collecting your points the focal point around which you plan your trip?

A business acquaintance of mine is a living master of the point bank. His simple philosophy: elite airline status first, business objectives – oh, you know, maybe second or third.  It was from him that I learned that if you add two or three unnecessary cities between yourself and your ultimate destination, you may blow the afternoon flying but you’ll have plenty of trip segments to show for your efforts. This something-for-nothing stratagem isn’t always as easy as it looks, and sometimes requires you to enter first class quickly with your head down and your sunglasses on – no photographs, please.   

Does one set of points matter more to you than another? Are you devoted to an airline and so-so about the hotel accommodations?  Do you hop any available flight at hand but always make sure that your home-away-from-home hotel is available before you hit the road?      

And now to that embarrassing little matter of the finances. I do know people who actually pay for their transportation and accommodation when they travel, but they’re definitely 'one percenters' – the very wealthiest of the traveling public. I would contend that the majority – if not the vast majority – of reward points are not purchased by the business travelers in whose accounts they reside, but by their employers. 

I’m beginning to wonder if loyalty club marketing departments are actually pandering to the proper recipient. Doesn’t it make more sense to get the company to pick a provider, work out a volume/discount exchange, and then incent, influence or downright instruct the individual traveler’s participation? Their reward is the reward points and program perks they covet... or learn to live with.  Admire the individual travelers and thank them kindly for their business, but when it comes to the payout, you gotta love the bill payers.

Do you like the service you get from your rewards program? Do you feel welcomed, cherished and pampered?  Are you there for the recognition and special treatment or do you tolerate the mediocrity for the sake of your point balance? Are your points the only thank you that you get for being a road warrior or does having special status open a world that makes it all seem worthwhile?

Finally, the point of all this generous point endowment is self-evident: you are a marketing target with a giant bull’s eye on your back. I hear from my clubs every 45 minutes or so, tempting me with offers of escapism and adventure. Are you content with your participation in a never-ending barrage of email and solicitation, or is it simply the price we pay to do business in the electronic age?       

Feedback time! Send an email to me at michaelschubach@me.com. Tell me your loyalty story, share your loyalty motivation and confess the guilt you feel when you use points to fly off to the Bahamas, use points to pay for your beachside hotel and then call in fat on Monday morning to the company that paid for all your point-earning adventures. Tell me if I can share your comments by name – either in a magazine article or FB comment – or if you revel in your anonymity, like my frequently flying business associate. 

About The Author
Michael Schubach




Michael Schubach is a regular contributor to Hospitality Upgrade.

 
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