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With the news cycle laser-focused on the looming threat of a COVID-19 second wave happening in nearly every territory, it is up to each and every hotel to ensure we are all fully compliant with virus safety guidelines in order to restore group booking confidence. And the only way to ensure compliance with these safety guidelines is through contactless and compliance technologies to give guests a strong guarantee of proper sanitization as well as peace of mind.

A great deal has been written over the years about the viability of moving a hotel’s property-management system (PMS) to the cloud to take advantage of the latest technologies, but hoteliers need to realize that it’s not the only viable option. All platforms have advantages, including self-hosted, private cloud and on-premise solutions that leverage the latest mobile, contact free and web-based technologies. Independent operators can still enhance the digital guest experience, support personalized and mobile check-in, deploy contact free technologies, and secure hotel/guest data even if their PMS does not reside in the cloud. It should not be a question of “Cloud or On Premise?” but rather “Does the PMS solve your business objectives in both technology and service?”

Much has been written in the mainstream hospitality press about the challenges COVID-19 has presented to the industry. Hotels are in more pain than at any time in our memories. Because of the extensive media coverage, I won’t dwell on this topic further in what is primarily a technology column. But it’s the background for this week’s column, and so merits acknowledgement.

Are You All In?
Posted: 07/27/2020

Imagine everyone in your organization engaged, aligned, and performing to their potential. Imagine everyone playing “All In.”

Great organizations have synergy. Their culture allows them to play to a rhythm at a different tempo than the average organization. How do you get that at your organization?

Many front-line hospitality workers rely on tips for a significant part of their paychecks. If not for tips, many hotel associates who serve as waitstaff, bartenders, housekeepers, bell staff, concierges and pool attendants would soon be looking for other jobs. This is a regional issue: in most of Asia and Europe, staff get higher base pay, and tips are either not expected at all, or are truly discretionary. But in the U.S., Canada, Britain and other countries, tips are an important reality, and one that’s not likely to change anytime soon.



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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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