Airlines and Hotels to Customers: Stay Home and Use Videoconferencing
VIENNA, Austria, April 1 — On the opening day of its annual meeting, the American Society and Service of Travel Industry Companies (ASSTIC) announced findings of a research report that, among other things, said that its members should encourage their best customers to stay home more and use videoconferencing.
ASSTIC is the largest association of travel industry executives in the world.
The study, conducted by the independent research firm Takë Shortcutti, surveyed 4,000 executives from ASSTIC’s membership and asked them to identify pet peeves about their customers, among other things. Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed listed “customers” as a major pet peeve.
“The attrition rate for front desk clerks is very high,” said Erwin Smithers, the group’s vice president for the hotel industry. “Do you have any idea what it is like to hear one hundred people a day say ‘But I am a diamond guest’ when they don’t get an upgrade?”
Smithers commented that the savings that will accrue by not having to clean numerous rooms and not having to retrain thousands of front desk clerks will return the hospitality industry in the United States to profitability.
“We believe that our best customers feel somewhat over entitled,” said Rüdiger Gruber, who heads up the group’s airline industry wing. “Unlike leisure travelers, these passengers feel affronted if the staff doesn’t bow three times as they enter the aircraft and they have a low tolerance for not getting their meal choice.”
The group identified several key objectives, including lowering energy costs, that will be easily achievable if members follow the study’s advice. “It’s clear that our best customers will enjoy an improved lifestyle if they stay home more and meet with their colleagues and prospects virtually,” said Cynthia Jones, ASSTIC’s executive director. “We believe that we’re onto something here and that other industries will follow our lead.”
“We fully support the findings from the Takë Shortcutti survey,” said George Willis, CEO of World Global Airlines and an ASSTIC member. “We plan to begin to implement some of the firm’s recommendations as soon as it is practical to do so.”