José María Alvarado is the director of sales for One World alliance. With a current 12 active members and over 30 affiliates, it is one of the world’s largest airline alliances
“By using an airline alliance, planners and buyers can access a service with truly international reach. Working with One World, for instance, can be extremely beneficial when arranging travel for large groups to one destination from multiple locations all across the world.
Large-scale international events can be extremely complex to organise. Good infrastructure is vital and ensuring smooth travel is an integral part of that process. For large-scale events with delegates from all over the world, Oneworld has recently launched a dedicated online group-booking platform. The service allows planners to set up a single online booking system and event attendees gain unique benefits, including discounts and frequent-flyer rewards when using the service.
Event organisers will find that working with an alliance is going to play a more important role in the future because of the global reach and single point of contact they offer. Also, with One World, we offer a level of quality through all our member airlines that people can recognise. When we consider adding any new airline, they have to match very strict criteria in terms of their quality of service and safety. Similarly, any new airline joining One World has to add value to what is already available. For instance, Qatar Airways, which is lining up to join us later in 2013, will allow us to offer many more connections between Asia and Africa, Latin America and Southern Europe.
Expanding our network offering means that event organisers can be confident when using One World to bring people from all over the world to business events, meetings and conferences, virtually wherever the event may be – in Asia this year, Latin America next year, or Europe or Australia the year after. At the end of the day, giving customers confidence is always going to be vital when it comes to success.”
Benjamin Jost is the CEO of Trust You, a reputation-management company for the hospitality industry. Established in 2008, the company helps businesses to gather and analyse online reviews and to successfully market online reputations
“Whether you’re part of a large brand, such as Hilton, or a small independent operator, reputation management is now vital.
User-generated feedback has become an essential part of the industry, because potential customers can now access the wisdom of the crowd. In the past, anyone planning to book somewhere they didn’t know themselves would have to rely on the recommendations of friends or simply trust an advert.
Today, the availability of user-generated information allows customers the freedom to make their own informed decisions. Nowadays, people don’t book or buy anything without having first read online user-generated reviews in order to gain accurate levels of expectation before they travel.
Operators have always collected information from guests, usually in the form of surveys. Harvesting the independent feedback found online is an excellent way to identify strengths and weaknesses. The system is not just for the benefit of the consumer. Such extensive user feedback is extremely useful beacause it adds a whole new level of transparency to every part of the hotel ecosystem.
Being part of a recognised brand can be very useful when it comes to leveraging positive reviews. You can have a fancy name over your door, or be a “five-star” hotel, but if your reputation and reviews are lacking, then the five stars and the name becomes insignificant. Three- and four-star properties have a more levelled playing field in the online-review world as they can come up just as high as a superior-star-rated property based on excellent service and guest feedback. In this era of increasingly important user-generated comments and reviews, stars and brand names are losing their shine.”