Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 5-24-15

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to everyone in the States!  In this week’s #SundayMusings we’re going to build off of last weekend’s “Pin of the Month” on mobile travel and link in loyalty-related articles, ahead of next weekend’s latest “Loyalty to Brands” write-up.  Here are several write-ups that I have found on brands that I have some level of loyalty to when booking travel.

#1 – “National’s App Adds “Virtual Aisle” Service” – via AutoRentalNews.com

Premise: Earlier this year National Rental Car deployed a “virtual aisle” to its Emerald Club members and users of National’s mobile app.  At specific airports around the US, National’s mobile app allows you to conduct a real-time inventory check on what cars are available at the airport.

Thoughts: National Rental Car has always been my preferred rental car provider for as long as I have been traveling for business.  The bypass of the counter feature was enough for me right out of the gate.  However, I’ve never had a negative experience with National, their customer service has been solid, and their mobile app includes just about everything you could possibly need.

#2 – “Hilton HHonors Rewards Program” via Wanderbat.com

Premise: Wanderbat provides a rundown on the Hilton HHonors program and all of its features, implied value, the encompassing hotel chains that fall under the program’s umbrella, and more.  The write-up suggests that earning points via your spend level at Hilton properties does not carry as much value as other hotels.  However, there are a number of partner programs that can be connected to your Hilton HHonors account.

Thoughts: This write-up provides quite the extensive list of benefits, how to earn and redeem points, and runs the gauntlet of coverage on the program.  Within a few clicks you will be able to find a similar rundown for your hotel of choice.

You may have already seen this but my loyalty in the hotel space has been with Hilton HHonors.  That will provide you with everything you need to know about why I am a loyal member to their program.

#3 – “Best Airline Rewards Programs” via USNews.com

Premise: USNews.com reviewed the top ten frequent flier / airline loyalty programs and came away with the ranking found in the link above.  JetBlue and Southwest are at the top of the list, respectively.  The bigger airlines – United, American Airlines, and Delta – find themselves in the middle of the pack.

The page linked to above provides a quick summary blurb for each of the ten airlines measured.  Each airline is then one, additional click away for a more comprehensive review of their respective loyalty program.

Thoughts: While I have preferences in airlines, I am not loyal to anyone in particular.  This is largely due to differences in flight destinations, convenience, and price.  Very rarely do I purchase an airline ticket without checking prices and flight times at each of the following locations – Newark, JFK, LaGuardia, and Philadelphia.  All four are anywhere from 30 – 90 minutes away without any major traffic issues.

It is incredibly tough to be loyal to an airline when you are traveling to various locations.  If you are traveling to one location for your job every week or month, it makes it a lot easier to rack up miles and eventually earn enough for reward travel.  However, I let my points accumulate with Hilton vs. any airline program due to what I view as stronger, more usable benefits.

Moving away from stories and reviews, I wanted to provide a few additional links for mobile travel.  Here are a few mobile travel apps that I find to be very helpful while I am on the road.  The links below are to the apps’ Google Play page.

  • FlightTrack: Offers free and paid versions – link is for the free version – and is typically ahead of airlines when updating delayed flights, gate information, etc.
  • Waze: When I run into issues with Google Maps and the navigation within it, I quickly turn to Waze.  This is somewhat ironic since Google now owns Waze and they should probably be better intertwined by now.  I digress.  Waze will provide you with the appropriate driving directions, alternative routes, and notify you when law enforcement may have been tagged by other users on the roads ahead.
  • 1Weather: I started using this weather app when I purchased an Android Wear smartwatch.  However, I wouldn’t recommend waiting to use this app for your weather and forecasts needs instead of The Weather Channel app.  It is far superior in my opinion.

Tweet of the Week:

Found Simplify’s tweet on a Twitter search for “mobile travel” and loved the link that is embedded here.  Tnooz.com provides a quick summary on travel and hospitality news, specifically with links to mobile and technology.  No surprise that the top stories connect mobile travel to the Apple Watch, as more brands look to make their mark in the wearables market.

That’s it for this weekend’s mobile travel-related #SundayMusings.  What apps do you find most useful when you are traveling for business or leisure?  Let me know in the comments below or via email so I can check them out.  Thanks!

 

Pin of the Month – Brands on Twitter

Infographic from WSJ.com  (Link provided in write-up below)

Infographic from WSJ.com
(Link provided in write-up below)

July’s “Pin of the Month” actually takes a look at a somewhat dated infographic created by the Wall Street Journal back in December of 2011. I came across this graphic when doing some research for our next “Brand in Focus” (hint: it will be the brand that appears at the top of our “Pin of the Month”) and still feel that it is quite relevant today.

We have seen quite a few examples of brands and companies handing over their social media accounts to staff members, only to be forced into an uncomfortable situation and/or an apology due to poor online behaviors of said employees. This graphic takes a look at three brands / companies that “win” on Twitter with strong digital marketing efforts on the platform while giving only a select few the keys to the car on the network, becoming the voice of the brand for each. [Read more…]