Travel Industry’s Message to Customers: Stay Home and Use Skype or Facetime

Did Strauss fiddle while Europe burned?

By Paul Riegler on 1 April 2018
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VIENNA, Austria, April 1 — The American Society and Service of Travel Industry Companies (ASSTIC) returned to Vienna for its annual conference for the first time since 2013 to announce findings of an updated 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 4,500 executives from ASSTIC’s membership and asked them to identify pet peeves about their customers, among other things, using the 2013 study as a baseline. Ninety-seven percent of those surveyed listed “customers” as a major pet peeve, an increase of 18 percentage points from the prior study.

“The attrition rate for front desk clerks continues to be very high,” said Erwin Smithers, the group’s vice president for the hotel industry. “It’s frustrating to hear grown men whine and repeatedly say ‘But I am a diamond guest’ when they don’t get an upgrade.”

Smithers said that a move towards more videoconferencing will relieve hotels of the responsibility of unnecessarily servicing numerous guest rooms, which in turn should help the hospitality industry return to profitability.

“We have to face reality,” said Rüdiger Gruber, the association’s group vice president for the airline industry wing. “Airlines’ best customers are overentitled ham sandwiches and the fewer contacts we have, the better.”

“We are taking the findings from the Takë Shortcutti survey quite seriously,” said Scott Kirby, the newly installed CEO of World Global Airlines, former United Airlines and American Airlines president, 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.”

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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