Sunday, January 15, 2017

The perks of being a loyal customer

Businesses work hard to attract new customers and retain the loyal ones. One way to accomplish that goal is through an effective loyalty program
Thanks to the frequent traveler programs offered in the hospitality and tourism industry, loyal customers can enjoy many perks. Drawing from my travel experience in December, I wrote an article entitled "It Pays to Be Loyal Customers" on Multibriefs.com earlier. While I am not going to repeat the whole discussion here, I am going to share part of the article here: 
Being a premier gold member of United, for example, I can also enjoy the following perks:
  • Free lounge access for international flights
  • Eligible to choose an Economy Plus seat with extra legroom upon reservation
  • Eligible for a free upgrade to United First for regional flights, starting 48 hours before departure
  • Two free checked bags of up to 70 pounds each for international and some domestic flights
  • Priority access for TSA
  • Priority boarding, right after the First and Business Class passengers
  • Priority baggage handling (as a result, I usually need not to wait for my checked bags at all)
  • Complimentary Gold Status with Marriott International, which comes with perks of Marriott and Starwood Hotels such as room upgrades (if available), lounge access (with free breakfast and evening reception), complimentary Wi-Fi and some others.
Many of those perks are not cheap if we have to pay with cash, but they make travel a lot easier. In fact, as a traveler's elite status moves up, s/he can enjoy even more and better perks. Now, the question is how to become an elite member of a frequent traveler program?
There are many frequent traveler programs available even though it has become more difficult for travelers to earn points or miles from those programs. The key is to choose the brand that we have easy access and stick to it, including:
  • To earn miles with one account only — for example, to earn mileage from the 28 partnered airlines of Star Alliance using only one of the airlines that we use most often (in my case, I choose United). Likewise, we should earn mileage with only one airline among all SkyTeam partners or OneWorld airlines.
  • To open a credit card of the airline that we fly most often, which will also provide such perks of free checked bag(s) in domestic flights and priority boarding.
  • One may reach a silver status by flying 25,000 miles a year (approximately two round trips between North America and Asia or Europe; or roughly four round trips between L.A. and New York City).
  • It usually takes twice as much effort to gain a gold status as compared to the silver status.
I hope you find my tips helpful here. Now, if you are not yet an elite loyal customer to any brands, would you consider becoming one in 2017? For those who travel often, what additional suggestions will you make to the ones who want to become an elite loyal customer in 2017?
* The picture was downloaded from King of Celebrities Blog

Friday, December 30, 2016

Looking forward to 2017 with a review of 2016

Are you ready for a new year? I know I am. As we are looking forward to 2017, let's review some of the key events and discussions in 2016 as published at MultiBriefs.com.  

Impacts from the major events in 2016

There were several surprising, if not revolutionary, changes in 2016 that need our special attention as we enter 2017. Here are some examples:
  • Donald Trump will officially become the 45th president of the United States after the inauguration on Jan. 20. I do not believe his presidency or his comments about illegal immigrants will stop people from traveling to the U.S., but his foreign policies — such as tighter border controls and new regulations or procedures of handling visas for temporary visitors — might have a negative impact. Meanwhile, Trump's infrastructure plan may boost the travel and tourism industry, providing easier, faster and safer access to a destination.
  • A growing number of terrorist attacks in Europe have made (or soon will make) it more difficult to travel from one country to another in Europe. Those tragic events also put people in great concern of their safety when traveling inside of Europe.
  • Brexit is probably the most shocking news in 2016 for Europeans. This past weekend, Italian voters rejected a batch of reforms, and the resounding defeat has led to the resignation of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Now, there is a strong chance Italy will become the second country to separate from the European Union (EU). The collapse of EU would make it more difficult to travel in Europe. The positive spin of Brexit is that the value of the pound is at a historic low, making a trip to Britain a great bargain.
  • President Barack Obama's visit to Cuba helps to spur travel to the country.

The economy

The evolving competitive landscape

2016 has been an exciting year for many hoteliers. Marriott and Starwood completed a merger and became the biggest hotel chain in the world. Yet the competition is just going to get tougher. For example:

Travelers want more authentic experiences

In 2016, I also shared a few discussions about new hotel and travel trends. Today's travelers want to gain more authentic experience in a tourist destination. They want to try local flavors, demand efficient service with the aid of technology, stay healthy and practice sustainability.
Above is a highlight of the key events of 2016, as reflected in my discussions over the year. Do you recall any big events in 2016 that I missed? How would they impact the future of hospitality and tourism business?
References:
The picture was downloaded from ArmstrongEconomics.com.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Forbes releases the top 10 food and restaurant trends of 2016

#Food #Restaruant #Trends #2016 #2017

Forbes magazine released the top 10 food and restaurant trends of 2016. Based on the options of five culinary experts, the trends were identified as the following:

  1. Asian Twists on Comfort Food - #kimchi, #Sriracha, #dashi
  2. Better Butters - #flavor
  3. Coconut Everything - #chips, #truffles, #water
  4. Cook-it-Yourself Meal Kits - #dish, #recipes, #flavors 
  5. Dukkah - #Egyptian, #seeds, #nuts, #spices 
  6. Farm-raised Fish - #sustainability
  7. Filipino Cuisine & Flavors - #lumpia, #adobo, #pancit, #halo-halo
  8. Miso - #umani, #marinades, #saladdressings, #snakes, #donuts, #icecrean
  9. Nut Cheeses - #nutmilk 
  10. Turmeric - #saladdressings, #cocktail 

Do you think some or all of these trends will stay in 2017? 

#HospitalityBrief in English


#HospitalityBrief in Cantonese


#HospitalityBrief in Mandarin


The picture was downloaded from Foodservice Consultants Society International

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Convenience over Class: Serving Vino in Cans (by Kristen Rinck)

A recent trend has emerged in the beverage industry that pinpoints a change in attitude and behavior in consumers. Want to find out what this new trend is? Next time you are at a grocery store, walk down the wine aisle and look for something out of the ordinary. Between all of the wine bottles, something different will pop out: wine cans. It now seems that beer is not the only alcoholic beverage sold in cans. Within the past year, the creation and consumption of canned wine have greatly increased. In fact, canned wine sales have more than doubled in the past year, according to a Business Insider study.  The study showed that sales of canned wine reached up to a revenue of $6.4 million in 2015 and so far to $14.5 million in 2016. Although canned wine currently only makes up about 1% of the market, the growth rate is rapidly climbing, comments Sommelier, Andrew Jones. 
  

The idea of canned wine only began a few years ago. Andrew Jones, who started Field Recordings winery in Paso Robles, California, was one of the first winemakers to make the switch to cans. Jones states that using cans rather than bottles has no effect on the flavor of the wine.  In 2013, canned wine was only 5% of Jone’s business, and now it accounts for up to 40% of the wine produced by Field Recordings. (CBS, 2016) In 2015, Whole Foods took the leap and prominently began selling Presto Sparkling canned wine.  (Business Insider, 2016)

One of the appeals of canned wine is practicality. With canned wine, a consumer can easily drink on the go. Our world continues to become much faster pace and a product that enables a consumer to increase their time efficiency will flourish. With the change in lifestyle comes a shift in consumption behavior and needs. People are becoming much less concerned about the tradition of making wines look like upscale. (Business Insider, 2016) This means the romantic notion of popping a cork is no longer a necessity.

Another appeal of canned wine is cost. Cost is a socioeconomic factor that influences consumer preferences. Many people in their twenties, including myself, do not necessarily have the funds to purchase an entire bottle of wine for ourselves. Nor do many of us need a whole bottle unless we plan to go to a formal dinner party or potluck. Being able to have a single serving of wine in your own home is a huge advantage of canned wine. The current cost of a single can of wine is around $5 to $8.  Field Recordings also sells canned wine in 6 and 8 packs. (CBS, 2016)

            As a millennial that is just coming into their drinking age, I am very intrigued by this concept.  When my parents were my age, their options were limited to canned beer and bottled red or white wine. However, in 2016, there are multiple choices when it comes to choosing one’s beverage of choice. Millennials are always looking for something new, easy, and exciting. Canned white, red, and sparkling wine provides all of those assets. 

I believe that canning is where the future of wine is headed. Canned wines will never fully take over glass bottles, but they will become much more popular. Although great for special occasions, the ceremonial popping of the cork is no longer a necessity to be able to enjoy a glass of wine. Convenience and cost efficiency can be great motivating factors in consumers’ decisions on what type of wine to get. I believe that as more millennials reach the age of 21, the number of canned wines bought will increase. All connoisseurs of wine should try canned wine at least once and who knows; maybe they will be pleasantly surprised.

Would you ever consider switching to canned wine? Is the efficiency of canned wine a big enough pull to get people to switch over from bottles to cans?

About the Author

Kristen Rinck is a junior at the University of California State Polytechnic Pomona. She is majoring in Hospitality Management and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Small Business. Her emphasis is in event management, but she also has an interest in wine and beer. She is expecting to graduate in spring of 2018.  After graduation, she wants to move back to the Bay Area and work in the event, wine or beer industry. In her spare time, she enjoys watching sports, reading, cooking, playing with her dog, and spending time with her friends and family.

References 
CBS, San Francisco. (2016, October 17). Canned Wine Has Vino Lovers Popping Tabs, Not Corks. Retrieved October 19, 2016, from http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/10/17/canned-wine-has-vino-lovers-popping-tabs-not-corks/
Taylor, K. (2016, September 27). A master sommelier reveals 4 trends changing the wine industry. Retrieved October 19, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/the-4-biggest-wine-trends-now-2016-9/#1-canned-wine-1 
* The picture was downloaded from The LA Times.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2017 hotel trends: Some indications from AHLA 2016 Lodging Survey

Recently, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and Smith Travel Research (STR) released the "2016 Lodging Survey.The goal of this biennial survey is to provide a current and comprehensive understanding of hotel operations, with the possibility of identifying the critical travel trends heading into 2017.
The survey covers a wide range of areas. I highlighted the key findings from the survey on Multibriefs.com, but here is a brief summary:

Technology

#Hotel #Trends http://bit.ly/112216 
  • Almost all hotels across various chain scales (from luxury to economy hotels) adopt central reservation systems (94-100 percent).
  • More hotels are using mobile apps for customer service, including checking-in into a hotel. 
  • 98 percent of hotels offer high-speed in-room internet service with wireless access, with fewer hotels charging for the service. 
  • Fewer hotels are using social networking sites for marketing purposes, dropping from 93 percent in 2014 to 87 percent in 2016.
Additional discussions for consideration:

Sustainability

  • A substantial increase in the number of hotels using high-efficiency/LED lighting.
  • 94 percent of hotels offer a towel/linen reuse program.
  • 47 percent of hotels participate in an amenity-recycling program.
  • A record number is set by the hotels using energy management sensors in rooms.
Additional discussions for consideration:

In-room amenities

  • A downward trend shows fewer hotels are offering shower-only rooms.
  • Only 10 percent use shower shampoo/conditioner dispensers.

Guest services

  • 85 percent of hotels that are located at an airport location provide complimentary airport shuttle service.
  • 62 percent of hotels offer complimentary breakfast — 80 percent among upper-midscale hotels, 96 percent among midscale hotels and 81 percent among economy hotels.
  • The percentage of hotels that provide room service dropped to 22 percent, but at the same, 21 percent offer alternatives to traditional room service.
  • 34 percent of hotels charge a fee for checking out one or more days early.
Additional discussions for consideration:

Property offering

  • 55 percent of luxury hotels and 25 percent of independent hotels have music/entertainment/nightclubs, much higher than other categories.
  • Large meeting space (over 10,000 square feet) is usually found in luxury, upper-upscale and independent hotels.
  • More hotels are offering free parking service, increasing from 72 percent in the previous survey to 85 percent this year.
Additional discussions for consideration:

Safety and security

  • 86 percent of hotels installed surveillance cameras in the lobby, the highest number ever.
  • Additional discussions for consideration:
Will you be able to see the 2017 hotel trends from this report? Please share your thoughts with us, as I share mine under "additional discussions for consideration."