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Four Seasons Private Jet Makes Dubai Debut

Dubai, UAE — Celebrating its maiden flight to the GCC region, the Four Seasons Private Jet touched down in Dubai for the first time yesterday evening at DC Aviation Al-Futtaim VVIP FBO and hangar facility at Dubai World Central.

The inaugural arrival of the hospitality industry’s first fully branded private jet in Dubai comes as part of the Four Seasons Private Jet Cultural Escape itinerary, exploring distinct cultures around the world. Flying in from Moscow, guests will enjoy a three-day stopover in Dubai before continuing their journey in the Seychelles, Serengeti and Florence, before returning to London to complete the inspiring 19-day journey.

“Dubai has quickly established itself as a leading global tourism destination, with world-class cultural, leisure and entertainment offerings. The three-day stopover of the Four Seasons Private Jet speaks to Dubai’s appeal for our discerning guests, who are eager to explore the unforgettable experiences that this remarkable city has to offer,” remarked Simon Casson, President, Hotel Operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa,Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

The 52-seat, custom-designed Boeing 757 features contemporary design combined with luxurious finishes throughout the aircraft. Ten Four Seasons trained in-flight crew, including an Executive Chef, a Sous Chef, a Four Seasons Concierge and a Global Guest Services Manager, are committed to making the journey truly personalised. Even the dining experience has been taken to an entirely new level of culinary excellence rarely enjoyed in the skies.

“Since we unveiled the Four Seasons Private Jet Experience in 2015, the first visit to Dubai has been eagerly anticipated. Seeing the Jet arrive in Dubai is a proud moment for the Four Seasons team here in the region and we’re excited to be able to share this iconic destination with our guests,” added Simon Casson.

The Jet’s welcome to Dubai took place at DC Aviation Al-Futtaim Dubai South – the only fully-integrated VVIP lounge and hangar facility in Dubai South. A joint venture between DC Aviation GmbH (Germany) and Al-Futtaim, the private terminal offers 5-star service and the fastest way to arrive in or depart from Dubai, with immediate access from limousine drop-off to the aircraft parked directly in front of the hangar.

The Four Seasons Private Jet Experience offers guests an unparalleled way to see the world. A fully immersive Four Seasons experience, both in the air and on the ground, every element of the private jet journey has been imagined through the Four Seasons lens. Carefully curated itineraries are designed to showcase every corner of the globe in a new way, through immersive experiences and exceptional service. Headlining the upcoming 2017 itineraries is Culinary Discoveries’ – a first-of-its-kind gastronomic expedition in partnership with Copenhagen-based restaurant Noma and its acclaimed head chef René Redzepi.


Summer 2016: A first assessment of France’s hotel industry

While summer 2016 logically presented a downturn for the hotel industry in the Paris region and on the French Riviera due to security concerns, other seaboard areas, the provinces and certain new regions in particular brought a welcome ray of sunshine. This summer’s first overview including all the figures by sector in our infography.

Considered on the whole, the French hotel industry recorded a drop in Revenue per available room (RevPAR) by -9.4% between July 1 and August 20, 2016. This negative result is particularly the outcome of the terrorist attacks in the capital and along the Mediterranean shorelines, particularly on the upscale segment which has a strong presence in the two destinations. And yet, the Paris Region and the PACA region are the leading tourism destinations in France: across the year, alone they represent 50.4% of the French hotel industry’s turnover according to data from the Observatory at MKG Consulting / OlaKala_Destinations.

In hotels in shoreline towns in the French Riviera along Mediterranean coast From July 1 to August 20, 2016 (compared to the same period in 2015), the occupancy rate fell 5.7 points while the revenue per available room fell by 15.2%. The terrorist attack on July 14 in Nice discouraged a share of the international clientèle, who were already sensitized by the previous attacks that had bloodied European news. As it happened at the beginning of summer, curing a crucial period when leisure clientèle  –on the upscale segment in particular – is the primary engine for activity, this terrible event clearly drove hotel performances down. But it is also necessary to remember that the French Riviera had experienced a particularly good summer 2015 (+22.3% for the RevPAR between July 1 and August 24), thanks to favorable weather in July, the shifted dates of Ramadan and the King of Saudi Arabia’s sojourn. The attacks thus simply returned the the coastal hotels to performance levels comparable to those produced in 2014: it attests to a certain resiliency  of the local market if it is to be compared to geographic sectors in areas such as Turkey where results from activity are don 30 to 40% for the past several months.

Moreover, if the French Riviera is receiving all the attention, the rest of France’s coastal areas posted generally positive results, while many observers had anticipated a significant drop in arrivals throughout the country. In comparison with last summer the Atlantic coast posted increases in its RevPAR (Revenue per available room) by +4.8%, the Breton shoreline +2.2%, Languedoc +2.0%, and Manche +1.8%. These results are all the more positive since these shoreline regions had already shown significant improvement in their results last year.

Outside the shoreline areas, the other provinces posted a positive change in RevPAR this summer: +3%. Among the “new regions”, three in particular did well. Auvergne-Rhône Alpes did the best in terms of tourism growth, with a RevPAR up by +7.5% (from July 1 to August 20). While arrivals increased only slightly (+0.2 points for the occupancy rate, or OR), the average daily rates progressed by close to 7.1% in the hotels in the region between Cantal and Savoy. the Loire Valley was another favorite: the Center–Loire Valley and Pays de la Loire posted occupancy rates that were up by +2.5 points and +2.2 points respectively, producing RevPARs (Revenu par Chambre Disponible) up by +5.4% and +7.8%.

The difficulties continue in Paris, the other destination particularly affected by the terrorist attack in Nice due to its heightened exposure to international clientèle and the security risks. With occupancy rates down by 12.2 points and average daily rates down 8.3%, Paris proper saw its RevPAR drop by -21.2% from July 1 to August 20, 2016, while hotels in the region around Paris posted a drop in their RevPAR by -11.5%. According to the tourism authorities of the Paris Region, which just published its results for the tourist season, these trends may be explained by the drop in arrivals of international long-haul clientèle (Japan, China, USA, Russia…), which is paralleled by the resilience of domestic travelers.

Georges Panayotis, president and founder of MKG Group, remarks: “It is important to realize that France has moved into a new dimension since the series of attacks that affected the capital and the French Riviera. We have gone from dramatic economic upheaval to a state of structural insecurity. this leads to a new consideration of the emergency measures that need to be taken to guarantee the survival of many enterprises on the sector, while developing a communication strategy and a new approach to “products” and “experiences” so that France remains the leading tourist destination worldwide. Today its position is sought after by destinations that have made an effort to renew their supply and strengthen their appeal.”


How Loyalty Programs Will Work After Marriott-Starwood Deal


Marriott runs the luxury-level Ritz-Carlton as well as Courtyard by Marriott, among others, while Starwood brings its stylish W Hotels, Westin and tech-forward Aloft properties.

For travelers, the biggest issue posed by the deal is the marriage of two different loyalty programs. The following are edited excerpts from a conversation with Ms. Linnartz.

Q. What does the acquisition mean for travelers who have Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points? Will the loyalty programs be merged?

A. Minutes after closing this deal we announced this site, It will allow members of each respective program to link their accounts. If you have gold status in SPG, you are automatically matched with gold status in Marriott Rewards and all the benefits that come along with being an elite. You’ll be able to transfer points from Marriott Rewards to SPG and vice versa. For example, if you’re an SPG member and you’re traveling to a location such as Tuscany or Aruba, places where Starwood doesn’t have a property, you can transfer your SPG points to Marriott Rewards and then use them for a stay at a Marriott property. Likewise, if you’re a Marriott Rewards member you can transfer your Marriott Rewards points to SPG for a stay in the Maldives or Bora Bora, to think of some glamorous spots where Marriott has not had a property. Every three Marriott Rewards points is equal to one SPG point.

Stephanie Linnartz.

It sounds as if I’m getting fewer points. Is it a matter of different rate structures?

Before we closed on the deal, we worked with a very well-known consulting firm. Each company submitted their data independently for this company to look at to determine what would be a fair exchange rate. We looked at things like how you earned points and how you redeemed points, how bonuses work, how promotions work, and quite a number of other factors. This firm concluded that a 3:1 exchange rate was absolutely appropriate. The points bloggers out there have been speaking very favorably about the exchange rate.

The merger makes Marriott the biggest hotel company in the world. Should consumers worry about your strength in the market? Will rates go up, for example?

No. This deal is about giving consumers more choice, more options, more experiences in different locations. The pricing is done at the individual hotel level.

Marriott in New York City.

What will happen when Starwood and Marriott brands compete? Will some brands disappear?

Our plan is to keep all 30 brands. They have distinct customers that they are positioned against. Starwood has been a real innovator over the years and has done things like the Westin’s Heavenly Bed, and the launch of W. Likewise Marriott was the first hotel company to roll out mobile check-in and checkout across all of our hotels globally. We were the first to launch mobile guest services. By having a larger company and more efficiencies in how we spend money on technology, I think we’ll be able to invest more in consumer-facing technology and more experiences for our guests.

Some travelers are looking for a deal or convenience, and may not be loyalty members. For them, what are the benefits of a big company?

We’re seeing people are looking for value. So the same person may go to a Ritz-Carlton for a special occasion and is perfectly happy at a Courtyard by Marriott for a soccer tournament. What consumers are looking for is the experience. Travel is such a robust opportunity for people to have unique experiences. Even if you don’t travel quite as frequently, you still want that special occasion, that amazing experience and we’ll be able to deliver that across the spectrum.

Correction: October 23, 2016
The Q. and A. column on Oct. 16, about the Marriott-Starwood deal, misstated the amount that Marriott International paid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. It was $13 billion, not $13 million.


Hyatt Announces Plans for a Hyatt Regency Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

CHICAGO–(–Hyatt Hotels Corporation  announced today that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Chip Mong Group for a Hyatt Regency hotel in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Expected to open in 2020, Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh will mark the first Hyatt Regency hotel in Cambodia, and will add to Hyatt’s growing footprint in Southeast Asia.

“We are delighted to bring the Hyatt Regency brand to Phnom Penh and Cambodia, and we are honored to begin our relationship with Chip Mong Group,” said David Udell, group president – Asia Pacific, Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “As Phnom Penh continues to become known as a destination for art, culture, tourism and business, we are confident that the globally recognized Hyatt Regency brand will resonate with business and leisure travelers visiting the country. Furthermore, we believe the hotel will play a vital role in the city’s development and will become a landmark in the city and a dynamic member of the local community.”

Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh will deliver on the modern expectations of today’s travelers and meeting planners. The 250-room hotel will feature authentic food and beverage offerings and will serve as the perfect venue for a variety of events such as weddings, social banquets, exhibitions, meetings, and conferences. Additionally, the hotel will offer a fitness center, spa and a rooftop swimming pool and bar, featuring views of the Royal Palace and the Mekong and Tonlé Sap Rivers.


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Debuts Its First Hotel in Downtown Buffalo

STAMFORD, Conn. — Westin Hotels & Resorts, part ofStarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE:HOT), today announced the opening of The Westin Buffalo in partnership with the hotel’s owner and operator, Delaware North. Located in the heart of the resurging downtown Buffalo, the newly-built Westin hotel is the brand’s first in the city and is poised to introduce a new level of wellness to travelers in the destination.

“With the revival of downtown Buffalo and new energy in the city, we are thrilled to introduce a unique wellness proposition for business and leisure travelers, as onlyWestin can,” said Bob Jacobs, Vice President of Brand Management, North America,Westin Hotels & Resorts. “From our iconic Heavenly Bed to our Gear Lending partnership with New Balance, we look forward to having guests leave The WestinBuffalo feeling better than when they arrived.”

With 116 well-appointed guestrooms and suites, The Westin Buffalo is thoughtfully-designed with a focus on biophilia, which suggests that a connection to nature enhances well-being. Meandering pathways guide guests through the public spaces, building on the idea that there are no straight lines in nature. The design also includes an extension of the brand’s Vertical Garden, which brings an innovative design approach.

All guestrooms and suites feature the world-renowned Westin Heavenly® Bed with lush sheets, down cushioning and a patented pillow-top mattress, as well as the brand’s Heavenly® Bath, Heavenly® Shower, Heavenly® Robe and White Tea Aloe bath amenities. Located at 250 Delaware Ave, the intimate, five story hotel occupies the lower half of owner and operator Delaware North’s new global headquarters. The hotel also features 7,300 square feet of versatile meeting and event space and an outdoorCourtyard.

The hotel’s signature restaurant, Patina 250, offers refined cuisine with a devotion to wood-fired cooking in a casually sophisticated, lounge-like atmosphere. For more casual fare, Jake’s Café is a bistro-like setting, offering Westin brand’s signature SuperFoodsRX® menu. Both restaurants are operated by Delaware North’s Patina Restaurant Group.

The Westin Buffalo features the distinctive wellness programs for which the Westinbrand is known, including the renowned RunWESTIN™ program that offers three- and five-mile jogging routes through scenic and historic neighborhoods as well as a state-of-the-art WestinWORKOUT® fitness studio with state-of-the-art exercise equipment from world-class brands in an open, airy and well-designed space. Additionally, the hotel is a hub for Buffalo’s new Reddy Bikeshare program, created by Independent Heath which brings 200 red bikes to Buffalo as a way to increase the health and well-being of all Western New Yorkers.

“This hotel is unlike any other in Buffalo,” said Thomas Long, General Manager, TheWestin Buffalo. “With the revitalization of downtown Buffalo over the past several years, there was a real demand for a high-caliber hotel experience that, Delaware North and the Westin brand, is poised to exceed for both guests and residents in the community.”

Located at the nexus of the city’s business and entertainment districts, The WestinBuffalo is also convenient to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and several major attractions, including the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, Key Bank Center (home of the NHL Buffalo Sabres), and Canalside, Buffalo’s newly redeveloped waterfront. The hotel is easily accessible from both the New York State Thruway (I-90) and Interstate I-190 and is about 10 miles from Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF).


Studio HBA designs two coastline-inspired properties in Santa Monica

Courtyard Marriott Santa Monica and Hampton Inn & Suites Santa Monica were designed to complement each other.

How a smart D.C. is smart on sustainability

How to Jumpstart Your Hotel’s Direct Bookings Through SEO – By Steven Briley

In hospitality marketing, the digital landscape is constantly evolving and the travel consumer journey to a direct booking is becoming more and more complex. To help you better navigate the digital landscape and shift share to the direct online channel, HeBS Digital’s  “Jumpstart Direct Bookings” Series shares industry best practices to boost direct bookings through the top revenue-generating marketing channels. From SEO to Multichannel Campaigns, you’ll learn insider strategies and concrete action steps to start shifting share from the OTAs today.The first best practices action plan in our series is “Jumpstart Direct Bookings through SEO.Read on to learn crucial strategies you may be missing.

As most marketers are aware, change is constant when it comes to search engine optimization. Smart hoteliers must adopt a proactive and holistic approach to content creation, marketing and optimization in order to make the greatest impact on the SEO landscape.

With more than a third of hotel website revenue generated as a result of organic search engine referrals, SEO continues to be an integral piece to hotel digital marketing. With major search engines like Google changing their algorithms more than 500 times a year, as well as introducing new features and functionality that impact how search results appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), hoteliers must be as vigilant as ever in how they implement and adapt SEO strategies over the course of time.

Hotel marketers must make data-driven decisions derived from careful analysis of measurable results and research. Industry best practices may evolve over time, and smart digital marketers must consider SEO as an ongoing effort grounded in hard data, but susceptible to volatility, and adjust their efforts accordingly.

1. Create hospitality-specific content to drive conversions.

San Lucas Resort Goofgle screenshot

Different from common commodity trading sites, hotel websites require unique approaches to on-page copy, tailored content marketing strategies, and hospitality specific SEO. Successful hotel websites not only inform, but inspire, the travel planner, highlighting unique value propositions of the specific property and destination. Engaging content that is tailored to attract a specific set of conversion-ready and qualified consumers throughout the various stages of the purchase funnel.

Informative, high-quality content directly leads to more immersive user engagement, resulting in longer time on pages, more pages visited and lower bounce rate. All of these metrics send positive signals to the search engines, which utilize the information in determining where a page ranks on the SERP.

2. Inform your content strategy with user insights and traffic metrics.

With high quality content in place, it is time to keep track of rankings visibility, user engagement insights and organic traffic to monitor the impact of the content and see how it is being rewarded by search engines and end consumers.

Screenshot - performance tracking

Adopt a proactive approach to performance tracking via an array of analytics tools:

  • Drive content creation and optimization decisions with consistent monitoring of keyword ranking visibility on a platform such asBrightEdge.
  • Stay current on organic traffic and user engagement trends by consulting industry-leading analytics platform like Adobe Analytics.
  • Conduct technical SEO spot checks and assessments using Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Perform regular, ongoing inbound link profile assessments using a fresh web explorer such as Moz Open Site Explorer.

3. Implement a proactive, ongoing SEO strategy for content recommendations and updates.

With robust, highly engaging content in place, and an eye on key reporting and analytics tools, digital marketers must be prepared to commit to an ongoing and proactive approach in order to drive direct bookings. The focus of these efforts should remain on the creation and optimization of high-quality content.

In addition to a commitment to engaging content, SEO efforts must prioritize quick and effective responses to shifts in search engine algorithms, user search demands and the competitive landscape.  Monthly reporting and action steps, weekly data-gathering and ongoing optimization efforts are all keystones to maintaining a healthy, effective strategy to maintain and increase organic traffic, conversions and revenue.

4. Utilize an industry-leading search visibility platform.

Utilizing a robust performance and search visibility platform is essential to effective, ongoing SEO efforts. BrightEdge is one such platform, operating as a multi-faceted SEO analysis tool centered on tracking the organic search performance of digital content. The platform allows marketers to quickly and easily identify high-performing pages, search visibility opportunities, recent successes, top engagement and traffic sources, and in-depth performance analysis against a set, but adjustable, group of competitors.

With streamlined information available, marketers can make informed content recommendations and optimization strategy suggestions. Ultimately, with the availability of data on high-value keyword terms and tracked performance over time, it’s possible for marketers to improve visibility, traffic and revenue via organic search with the implementation of data-driven strategies.

5. Ensure content is mobile friendly.

Each year sees mobile search take up a greater share of overall search activity, now accounting for over 30% of website visits. Remaining aware of the latest developments in mobile search, as well as keeping an eye on the level of engagement and where in the purchase funnel mobile visitors are will allow hotel marketers to adapt a strong mobile content strategy to increase visits, bookings and revenue via the mobile search channel. 

Screenshot Mobile friendly test

6. Secure and optimize key local listing citations.

A uniform local search presence is one of the most critical components of a holistic and effective SEO strategy. Eliminating any inconsistencies within a hotel’s local search presence, reducing duplicate listings within directories, and maintaining streamlined and optimized local search information is key to success in local search.

Google screenshot for the Resort at Pedregal

By simply ensuring local search citations are uniform, streamlined and optimized, hotel marketers satisfy a key piece to ranking algorithms across search engines. In short, search engines place greater trust in uniform listings across well-established portals and are more likely to prominently position a hotel on the SERP as a result. Local search optimization efforts should include quick verification and routine maintenance of local profiles across a variety of listing platforms, including services like Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, CitySearch, Superpages, Yellow Pages and many more.

Maintaining a uniform local search presence is one of the most important components of a comprehensive SEO strategy for hoteliers. A high priority in 2016 should be correcting any inconsistencies within the hotel’s local search presence, reducing duplicate directory listings, and ensuring streamlined and optimized local search information.

7. Utilize a proactive and defensive link management strategy.

Search engines learn about specific pages and whole sites by analyzing links from other sites that lead to the page or domain in questions. Links from sources the search engines deem as trustworthy and high-value, like .edu, .gov, or prominent editorial sites to name a few, signify to the search engine that the linked page or site is also trustworthy and therefore worthy of prominent placing in search results. Alternatively, links from non-trustworthy or spammy sources result in search engines detracting from a site’s overall visibility.

In order to gain credibility from links and avoid punishment for bad links, it is crucial to monitor all inbound link activity and opportunities. Performing regular inbound link audits allows hotel marketers to view the quality of their existing links, disavow any negative links, and find opportunities to seek out new, high-quality links.

8. Utilize a strong content management system (CMS) to make real-time content and technical SEO updates.

A content management system (CMS) can be a revelation or a disaster. Ideally, a CMS should offer the ability to make updates to on-page content, metadata, images, promotional tiles and other critical site components with ease and in real-time. Dedicated, trained personnel can easily make updates, implement new strategies, and ensure SEO best practices are being followed in a matter of minutes when utilizing a strong CMS. Contrarily, a poor CMS will frustrate and handcuff users, as well as sabotage the efforts of any well-intentioned marketers.

9. Take a holistic approach to SEO, paid search, and digital marketing as a whole.

Google screenshot for the Resort at Pedregal

Of course, SEO is just one element hotel marketers face when planning budgets, allocating their attention, and generally planning for success. While SEO is integral to the successful marketing of any hotel, and to driving direct bookings, a holistic approach that includes other digital marketing efforts, like paid search, banner advertising, email marketing, reservation retargeting and more, is crucial in turning a hotel website in a high revenue generator.

10.  Go beyond generic hotel website copy to inform and entice the visitor.

Basic hotel website information is the way of the past. Engaging and informative content of the area, nearby attractions, activities and other local knowledge lends the hotel an air of legitimacy, and signifies to travel planners that the hotel is a champion of the destination.

Area guide content pages, interactive maps and calendars of events can all influence visitors to book on the site, and indicate to search engines that the site is worthy of prominent appearance on the SERP. Contrarily, boilerplate-style content featuring generic content does little to engage users, leading to poor metrics, and negative signals to the search engines.  


The Ritz-Carlton encourages sustainable driving with new electric charging stations at hotels across the world

With a dedication to fostering a sustainable future, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company is now offering charging stations at properties across the globe. Currently installed at a majority of the  brand’s North American locations and select international hotels, electric car owners charging at Ritz-Carlton locations can experience all that The Ritz-Carlton has to offer, with extraordinary destinations and exceptional service.

Charging station at the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, North Carolina

Charging station at the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, North Carolina

The Ritz-Carlton network of destination charging stations make long distance travel convenient and easy from Washington, DC to San Francisco and Barcelona to Hong Kong with the installation of two charging stations at each property, and the ability to charge up for the next 150 miles in two and a half hours.

“Our organization is committed to seek ways to inspire people to live differently. To adopt a lifestyle in which we can travel responsibly, comfortably and create memories that will last a lifetime,” said Ed French, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, The Ritz-Carlton. “Commitment to the community and environment was part of our original 1983 mission statement. Globally, we focus our efforts in three areas, of which one is environmental responsibility. Our approach is to merge our global strategy with local perspective – allowing us to integrate sustainable initiatives across the broad range of geographic locations in both remote and urban communities where our company has operations.”

Electric charging station locations at Ritz-Carlton hotels include: Amelia Island, Bachelor Gulch, Bal Harbour, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Coconut Grove, Dallas, Denver, Dove Mountain, Fort Lauderdale, Georgetown, Half Moon Bay, Key Biscayne, Lake Tahoe, Marina Del Rey, Montreal, Naples, Philadelphia, Rancho Mirage, Reynolds Lake Oconee, San Francisco, Sarasota, South Beach, St. Louis, Toronto, Tyson’s Corner, Pentagon City in Washington, DC and Westchester across the United States in addition to, Hotel Arts, Barcelona, Beijing Financial Street, Chengdu, Hong Kong and Shenzhen in China with additional international locations to follow in the coming months.


We’re Not Happy Unitl You’re Not Happy

Every once in a while I jokingly will say the motto of a company who gives me bad customer service is: We’re not happy until you’re not happy.

There are certain industries that this seems to be especially true. People complain and joke about some of their experiences with government agencies.

Or, how about the reputation of the cable TV industry? It’s hard to shake off a reputation for bad service that has been going on for years – although they do seem to be getting better. Other industries, such as the airlines and cell phone service providers are doing their best to improve.

First, you have to know that customer’s expectations are higher than ever. They expect good service. We teach the customer what good service is when we tout our awards and make promises. When United makes a promise such as Fly the friendly skies, then they better be prepared to deliver on that promise. That’s why they call it a brand promise! And, when it is delivered, the brand is established.

Unfortunately, businesses can let their customers down. It’s not just happening in the cable TV, airline and phone industries. It’s happening in all industries.

Businesses upset their customer’s numerous ways. Here are just a few:

They make mistakes that cause complaints. No one or no company is perfect. Even the best brands that are known for their customer service, such as Zappos, Nordstrom and others.

Customers understand this. It’s the way the problems and complaints are handled that make the difference between the best and the rest.

They make bad hires that aren’t good at delivering customer service. I’m surprised at how some companies allow questionable employees to work in direct customer-facing jobs. Or any job for that matter.

One bad employee can lose a customer and bring down a company’s culture.

They have policies that aren’t customer focused. I hate it when an employee says, “That’s our policy.” Typically, that is the line that is used to hide behind rules and policies that are more company-focused than customer-focused.

Employees should be given guidelines, not hard-and-fast policies. They should be empowered to come up with creative solutions that are good for the customer, and at the same time, doesn’t hurt the company.

They make it hard to do business with them. I always ask my clients, “How easy is it to do business with you?” It’s important to make the customer experience frictionless. Customers want a hassle-free experience. They want speed and simplicity.

If you’re going to make a brand promise, keep it. Otherwise, you and your company may be the brunt of the punchline… We’re not happy until you’re not happy!