Or, perhaps more appropriately, the best moments I can share in public…
I like the annual gathering of loyalty programs, consultants, vendors, travel dorks and various others which is represented (and has been for nearly 30 years) by the Freddie Awards. That’s not to say I put a ton of faith in the results of the awards themselves as a valid measure of the industry overall or even necessarily of the relative merits of the individual programs. But the learning and networking opportunities are astounding. The conversations at the hotel bar at the end of the night can be truly enlightening, and often spectacularly entertaining.
This year I was invited to give a presentation during the conference. I got to talk about the evolution of programs, adjusting them to meet the demands of customers and coming up with a way to not treat members like they’re morons because most figure out what the changes really mean sooner than not. That was definitely a highlight for me, even if I’m still not entirely sure how well received it was by the crowd (telling them how you think they’re screwing up rarely goes great). But, fun as that was, it doesn’t rate as one of my top two moments.
Seth M @WandrMe asks: How do you handle the shift in consumer desire from acquiring “stuff” to having a unique experience? #Loyalty@freddie
— Switchfly. Unleash the power of travel. (@switchfly) April 30, 2015
This year the awards ceremony was held at the Delta Flight Museum. We had the opportunity to explore the facility and dined under the wing of a 767. That was pretty spectacular.
And then, at the end of the night, I got perhaps a bit too intimate with one of the bits of landing gear outside. No planes, nor pants, were harmed in the making of this photo.
My second favorite bit came all too early the next morning (see note above re late night bar discussions and re which bits I can share in public) when I joined a group of 20 in a plane pull to support the American Cancer Society. Delta coordinated getting us all registered, ponied up the initial seed funding for the charity contribution required and even put us on a bus in the morning to get to the facility.
That all added up to getting to move a 757-200 with 19 friends (which we accomplished surprisingly quickly).
And also grabbing what I believe is a spectacular selfie.
As is always the case I found the whole thing to be worthwhile, even worth flying from Hong Kong straight into happy hour for. But this time around there were absolutely two events which were special. And a tiny bit ridiculous. Just the way I like it.
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There is no better metaphor for the travel blogger industry than an overweight gentleman wearing a Delta shirt, trying to pull one of their jets.
@Michael, weird that I was thinking THE EXACT SAME THING
Out of curiosity, how is the crowd (and presumably your readership) screwing up? Or are you referring to the industry people screwing up?
I was speaking to industry executives and talking about how they are interacting with consumers, both good and bad. Not many presentations include the bad side of things but I had the stage and I’m not shy.
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