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Can the Travel and Hospitality Industry Get Out of its Own Way?


Marketing Horizons: Can the Travel and Hospitality Industry Get Out of its Own Way?

Since the pandemic, airlines and hotels have taken a huge kick to the stomach. But now, it seems they can’t get out of their own way. Delays, poor service, and inadequate staffing, all in the face of massive demand and booming revenues. The result? Record low customer satisfaction and defections.

Joining us from Singapore is Mark Ross-Smith, founder of Travel Data Daily and CEO of Status Match. Mark has 20 years of experience leading loyalty programs in telecom and travel, most recently at Malaysian Airlines. In this episode, he explains why loyalty programs are not only hugely valuable to airlines, but are in some cases THE value, with important lessons for marketers everywhere. Listen in as Mark explains the extraordinary power of loyalty programs, and the financial benefits of “selling the dream.”

Three Takeaways

  • The lives of today’s consumers blend business and leisure, resulting in a solid new trend known as Bleisure. The world of travel is only going to grow bigger since it brings joy and magic into our lives and creates stronger human connections.
  • During the downturn caused by the pandemic, airlines were forced to reveal the financial details of their loyalty programs in order to secure government loans. For the first time, the world discovered that frequent flyer programs are hugely profitable and in some cases worth more than the airline itself.
  • Loyalty programs are examples of the Pareto principle in practice. As the 80/20 rule says, a small number of your most loyal customers are responsible for the majority of your profitability. Use this information to augment and enhance your own loyalty efforts, whatever your industry.

About our Guest

Mark Ross Smith

Author, Founder of industry news site “Travel Data Daily”, and CEO of Status Match, Mark Ross-Smith who has published over 50 papers and articles on airline loyalty, which dive deep into airline economics, big data, and cutting-edge loyalty material.

His unique approach to loyalty has received industry acclaim and his work is referenced in major media including CNN, BBC, South China Morning Post, The Star, The Economist, Financial Times, Executive Traveler, Skift and many more. Recently, Mark also won the Global Aviation Travel Startups Award on October 2022 at the biggest aviation event in the world.

Meet the Hosts

Cyndi Greenglass

Cyndi W. Greenglass is a founding partner and president at Livingston Strategies, a data-informed, strategic consulting firm that helps clients develop, execute, and measure their customer communications with a close focus on results. Cyndi has razor-sharp strategic skills matched by impeccable on-the-ground savvy and tactical abilities. She is an Adjunct Instructor in the Data Marketing Communications online master's degree program from West Virginia University.

Greenglass has twice been named into the Top 100 Influential BTB Marketers by Crain’s BtoB Magazine and was the 2012 CADM Chicago Direct Marketer of the Year. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for BRAND United and has taught, trained and presented at over 50 conferences throughout the world.

Ruth Stevens

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, for business-to-business clients. Ruth serves on the boards of directors of the HIMMS Media Group, and the Business Information Industry Association. She is a trustee of Princeton-In-Asia, past chair of the Business-to-Business Council of the DMA, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York.

Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She serves as a mentor to fledgling companies at the ERA business accelerator in New York City.

WVU Marketing Communications Today: Horizons is presented by the West Virginia University Reed School of Media and Communications, which offers renowned online master’s degree programs in Marketing Communications. Interested in growing your career with a master's degree in Data, Digital or Integrated Marketing Communications? Request more information today!