It doesn’t matter what United does

Posted by Brian Lee on April 13, 2017 in Public relations

United_AirlinesAs I’ve been reading the mass media and PR trade journal articles on the recent United Airlines fiasco, I’ve noticed a consistent theme: people have critiqued how United and its CEO have responded–and I agree, it’s been pitiful–but what’s missing from these stories is that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what United does.

In other words, a company like United can treat its employees and passengers however it wants, it can completely whiff in responding to crises and it can continue to offer horrible service, but subsequently, it will still remain in business. That’s because United, American, Delta and Southwest are essentially an oligopoly of U.S. air travel. Consumers have few options, and these airlines know it.

It’s no surprise that consumer complaints against the airlines increases each year. Still, airlines can make flying even worse than it already is–for example, reduce seat sizes by half, charge for water and ban carry-on bags–but as soon as they dangle a special discount on a flight, consumers always will grudgingly come back.

Think about other industries, such as cable providers and cellular providers. They, too have large amounts of complaints, but with little competition, there’s no incentive for these companies to have a customer-centric focus (despite what they say publicly).

And that’s exactly why United won’t suffer any long-term damage.

Update: April 17

The New York Times published an op-ed that mimics my points, stating “an industry that is not naturally competitive … (became) an unregulated cartel. This restored profitability, but at awful costs both to customer convenience and to economic efficiency as well.”


In Hospitality, Customer Service is Everyone’s Responsibility

Posted by Brian Lee on April 12, 2017 in Marketing, Public relations


In a survey by American Express, 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. This is especially important for hotels, B&Bs and resorts. It is the responsibility of every employee–from the front desk to the housekeeping–to provide a high-quality, memorable experience for each and every guest.

Following are a few keys to hospitality success.


Creating a customer-first culture starts with training. Make your hospitality standards a key part of new-employee onboarding.

Employees should learn your hotel’s mission and values. Your internal communications–for example, email, Intranet or department meetings–should regularly reinforce these points. A maintenance worker directing a guest to a pool or a bartender providing sightseeing recommendations goes a long way.

Senior staff members need to lead by example, according to HotelRED General Manager Jason Ilstrup, a past Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association Innkeeper of the Year whose hotel in Madison, Wis., has earned numerous Trip Advisor Certificates of Excellence.

“I’m out on the floor, working in all departments, and great customer service becomes contagious,” Ilstrup said. “I’m trying to demonstrate that we’re all on the same team and doing this together. Our mentality is that we’re here for the guests.”


Contrary to popular belief, customer loyalty is not built through great customer service, according to a study by the Customer Contact Council. Instead, customer loyalty is built by “reducing (the guest’s) effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved.”

That’s why Ilstrup empowers his staff to solve issues as they arise.

“We train the staff to have the right frame right of mind, and then we never question their decisions,” Ilstrup said.

As a result of great customer service, Ilstrup said the main benefit for his hotel is not only referrals or favorable reviews, but also the “positive attitude the staff has all the time.” And that, in turn, benefits the guests, too.


You also should establish an employee recognition program. Staff members always appreciate being noticed for going above and beyond. This is not an employee-of-the-month award; rather, it’s calling out “wins.” Your program will hopefully lead to increased productivity and high morale.

Check out what Hilton does:


Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media offers hotels, B&Bs and resorts services related to media relations, community relations, branding, group sales, SEO/SEM and social media management. Please contact Brian Lee, brian [at] experiencerevelation.com or 608-622-7767.



Company sued for also calling conference room a fishbowl

Posted by Brian Lee on April 5, 2017 in Office Life

Fishbowl(AUSTIN, Texas)–Rose, Furman & Associates (RFA) has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Ninja Marketing Gurus, Inc., for also using the term “fishbowl” to name its glass-walled conference room.

According to court documents published Monday, RFA claims that Ninja Marketing Gurus had posted on its Instagram account a photo of six staff members “having an on fleek creative meeting for a new client in our fishbowl. #ThatsHowNinjasDoIt”

RFA opened May 1, 1998 and named its conference room shortly thereafter. Ninja Marketing Gurus was founded in 2015 in a coworking space and moved to its current office in October 2016.

The lawsuit states that Ninja Marketing Gurus must immediately rename its conference room and remove other infringing elements, including a whiteboard with Post-It notes, a mini-fridge with bottled water from Costco and a “Chive On” poster.

“Whether it’s to figure out how to make our clients seem like they know cool slang on social media, go over individual staff wins for the past week or frantically fill out industry award applications last-minute, the Fishbowl(R) has always been a unique component of our agency,” RFA Co-Founder and Chief Idea Officer Jeff Rose said in a written statement. “Any other company thinking to make the walls of their conference room see-through and cleverly naming it a ‘fishbowl’ is obviously stealing our IP.”

Rose also noted the ability to see who’s in the fishbowl and spontaneously join in meetings has helped RFA attract “rock-star talent in our industry.”

Attempts to reach Ninja Marketing Gurus for comment were unsuccessful.

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